Skip to main content

Full text of "Dilemma In Japan"

See other formats


952,033 R84& 

Keep Your Card in This Pocket 

library cards. 

Unless labeled otherwise, books may be retained 
for two weeks, Borrowers finding books marked, de- 
faced or mutilated are expected to report mm at 
library desk; otherwise the last borrower will be held 

lie card holder is responsible lor all books drawn 
on this card. 

Penalty for over-due books 2o a day plus cost of 

Lost cards and change of residence must ba it- 

Public Library 

Kansas City, Mo. 

Keep Your Card in This Pocket 

n ENVELOPS 00,, K,0,,0. 



Japan Strikes South 

French Interests and Policies in the Far East - 
Part II: French Indo-China in Transition 

Dilemma in Japan 





-'__ -V"Cp"p,Yk;GKT 1945, BY ANDREW ROTH 



Published Septenj/jxsr 1945 



To Those Who Have Died 
To Restore the Pacific 

To Its Name 
In the Hope That the 

Peace Will Be 

Worthy of Their 


SI? g7 

The author wishes to thank Simon and Schuster, 
Inc., for permission to use excerpts from Ten Years 
in Japan by Joseph C. Grew, and Henry Holt and 
Company for permission to use excerpts from Re- 
port from Red China by Harrison Forman. 


I Japan at the Crossroads 3 
II Through Unconditional Surrender to a 

Negotiated Peace 14 

III The State Department and Japan's "Old 

Gang" 34 

IV The Zaibatsu Threat to Peace 71 
V Can We Do Business with Hirohito? 99 

VI The Promise of a Minority 123 

VII Japan's Hardy Democrats 140 

VIII At the Grass Roots 1 6 1 

IX Labor against Militarism 193 

X Schools for Antifascists 234 

XI Paving the Way 273 

Bibliography 293 

Index 295 



The defeat of Japan precipitates perhaps the 
most important Far Eastern political crisis of this cen- 
tury the decision as to what road Japan should travel 
in the postwar period. The future security and pros- 
perity of the entire Pacific depend to a considerable ex- 
tent on the road which is taken. 

We are virtually as unprepared mentally to cope with 
the problem of Japan's postwar political future as we 
were to cope with the problems of war on Sunday, 
December 7, 1941. In the war years following that day, 
our energies have mainly been concentrated on the ne- 
cessity for the utter destruction of Japan's militarist 
system and the punishment of those guilty of war 
crimes. We have come to recognize the need for bring- 
ing home to the Japanese people the fact of their defeat. 
These sentiments have been expressed in widespread 
popular support for the war aim of unconditional sur- 
render. We have also determined to strip Japan of all 
territories it has gained by conquest. And we realize that 
we should and must maintain powerful military and 
naval forces in the postwar Pacific. 

But we must also be prepared to go further. A sound 
and permanent peace cannot be based on military re- 
straints alone. It can only be based on the uprooting of 
the basic political and economic forces which have 
propelled Japan along the disastrous road it has fol- 
lowed. We cannot afford to stand aloof, even in our 
armed might, and hope that somehow a peaceful Jap- 
anese political, economic and social structure will emerge 


from the wreckage of this war. If it is to our interest to 
see a new Japan emerge, we should be willing to fa- 
cilitate its birth. And the first step In that direction is 
to take note of the alternate roads which Japan can 

The pressures produced by defeat are many and con- 
fusing, perhaps nowhere more confusing than in Japan. 
Nevertheless the political and economic forces at play In 
a defeated Japan tend to point the way to either of two 
divergent roads. 

One of these roads has many well-known glides and 
familiar signposts for it is the road which is at bed- 
rock a slightly altered version of the one which led to 
Pearl Harbor and disaster. 

The other is a new, largely uncharted road with few 
signposts, and guides who are little known. It is one 
which various groups in Japan have sporadically at- 
tempted to pioneer during the last seventy-five years 
without success, but which will be thrown open once 
again by the blast of defeat. This is the broad highway to 
self-purification, democratization and social and eco- 
nomic reform in short, a road away from aggressive, 
repressive militarism and toward a peaceful and demo- 
cratic solution of Japan's problems. 

The cataclysmic shock of an unprecedented defeat Is 
capable of jarring loose the psychological blinders and 
strait jackets which have been imposed on the Jap- 
anese by three quarters of a century of authoritarian 
rule. With the blinders dislodged, and a measure of firm 
but sympathetic guidance, it is but a short step to a 
revulsion against the disproven and hackneyed slogans 
of the militarists, and thence to a searching criticism of 
the forces which led Japan to the abyss of defeat. 

One of the groups strongly subject to disillusionment 


with the old Japan is that of soldiers returned from 
half-starved, isolated garrisons which have lived for 
endless months on the empty boasts of the Tokyo radio 
and on false promises of relief. In addition, there are 
countless numbers of small shopkeepers and peasants 
who have been squeezed dry for a victory which never 

If a breakdown of police repression follows in the 
wake of defeat, those democrats, liberals and radicals 
who have chosen silence in preference to jail or worse, 
will again become vocal These will be found particularly 
among intellectuals, students, small business men, indus- 
trial workers and even among some younger Western- 
educated aristocrats. Two of the groups which the "dan- 
gerous thoughts" police have watched most closely in 
the past have been the students and industrial workers. 
During the course of the war, largely as a result of the 
wholesale transf erral of students into Japan's manpower- 
hungry factories under atrocious conditions, a strong 
bond has grown up between these students and the in- 
dustrial workers. 

A reservoir of determined antimilitarist and pro- 
democratic leadership will be found in those among 
the many thousands of "dangerous thoughts" inmates 
of Japanese political prisons who may not have been 
slaughtered by their jailers. The term "dangerous 
thoughts" has been used to cover a wide range of de- 
termined opponents of the aggressive and repressive 
measures of the imperialist Japanese government, from 
Christian pacifists and militant democrats to doctrinaire 

Yenan will be able to supply hundreds of Japanese 
antifascist organizers: former prisoners of war cap- 
tured in China by the Communist-led Eighth Route 


Army, and converted by Susumu Okano, leader of the 
Japanese People's Emancipation League. Tliese hope to 
return to Japan to attempt to carry out the antlmilitanst 
p/ogram of the League, Other antimllitarlst prisoners 
of war will come from Watara Kaji's Anti-War League, 
In Chungking. 

Although the advocates of a new Japan are for the 
most part little-tried and little-known, even in Japan, 
they reflect the frustrated desires of the common man 
and thus may come to the fore in the event of a popular 
movement of protest and resentment against things as 
they have been. 

The foreign observer of Japan has been inclined to ex- 
aggerate the loyalty and submission which have been such 
obvious characteristics of the Japanese. He has gen- 
erally overlooked the deep resentment against poverty 
and lack of opportunity which, while submerged, is an 
equally important part of their make-up. It is the Jap- 
anese peasant's sullen resentment against his oppressed 
status within Japanese society which frequently pro- 
pels him into becoming brutal and wanton when he 
becomes the topdog as a soldier in a conquered coun- 
try such as China. 

The main problem for those striving for a new 
Japan is to break the restraining dam of submission 
and loyalty, in order to release the common man's 
vast desire for improvement In position. In the past, 
the militarists have tapped this source, particularly by 
appealing to the peasants. They told them that the only 
way they could improve their abysmal land-hungry con- 
dition was to support the conquest of new lands. 

The approach of the advocates of an Improved Japan, 
oil the other hand, must be to harness the pressure of 


peasant discontent to a program of agrarian reform 
within Japan. It is this reservoir, the discontent of 
peasants, industrial workers, intellectuals, men and 
women in small and medium business, that must power 
the movement to reform Japan. The crucial question is 
whether the handful of pioneers who have not been 
crushed in the past years will be able to harness this 
great potential power. The efforts of such democrats 
and antimilitarists, of varying political color, must cen- 
ter on bringing home to the Japanese people the lesson 
of Japan's defeat and on carrying out a drastic over- 
hauling of the political and economic structure which 
has led to aggression and disaster. 

Against this democratic potential is arrayed a strong 
and well-entrenched opposition an opposition which 
will attempt to keep Japan on the old course, and which 
will block any drastic alteration of the fundamental 
forces which have driven her from one aggressive act to 
another. The supporters of the status quo will range 
from unreconstructed militarists to so-called "moderate" 

The most fanatical resistance to a program of reform 
will come from the residue of fascist-minded young 
officers and the cadres of the secret political societies; 
for any program of reform in Japan would have to start 
with a political delousing aimed at the elimination of 
these military fascist elements. These fanatical militarists 
will attempt to divert the shock of defeat into a con- 
suming hatred for the victors. Their tradition of political 
terrorism and their experience in secret organization 
make them a serious problem, not only by themselves 
but as a potential weapon in the hands of less fanatical 
groups such as the leaders of some of 


Japan's giant financial combines, sections of the en- 
trenched, authoritarian bureaucracy and many large 

If this bloc of conservatives, nationalists and under- 
cover militarists have their way, they will limit the 
difference between prewar and postwar Japan at most 
to the degree of difference between Imperial Germany 
and post- Versailles Germany. The conservative ele- 
ments, interested primarily in retaining control of Ja- 
pan's economy and political structure, will utilize every 
stratagem and instrument toward that end. In order to 
secure Anglo-American support, and to provide a 
safety-valve for internal unrest, they will support the es- 
tablishment of a pseudo-parliamentary government 
where the needs of wide sections of the Japanese popu- 
lation can find impotent expression through political 
parties owned and controlled by the great financial in- 
terests. They will make every effort to retain the Em- 
peror institution as the most effective instrument for 
their hidden rule. At the same time, these interests 
are likely to continue to subsidize the patriotic and 
jingoistic societies which terrorize those seeking to 
broaden Japan's parliamentary facade into a real de- 
mocracy or to improve the living conditions of the 
people through such "antinationaP organizations as 
trade unions and peasant leagues. 

The success of these contending blocs in propelling 
Japan upon one road or the other depends primarily 
on their ability to organize and lead the stunned major- 
ity. The democratic and left groups have to build vir- 
tually from the bottom up, developing leaders, winning 
followers and building their organizations. Only the 
Communists have been able to retain a rudimentary sort 


of decentralized organization during the past fifteen 
years of militarist aggression and suppression. 

The conservative, rightist and pro-militarist groups 
will have a comparatively easier task. The giant financial 
concerns have the power, the funds, and the trained 
personnel to re-establish the old-line political parties in 
order to divert popular discontent and unrest into safe 
channels. The authoritarian, Prussian-style bureaucrats 
and the semifeudal court-circle aristocrats will have the 
biggest advantage in already having control of the state 
apparatus and exerting strong influence upon the Em- 

The military fascists should have little difficulty in go* 
ing underground, because most of the vast network of 
jingoistic and terroristic organizations have always been 
secret and conspiratorial. Furthermore, they should have 
an extensive residue of fanatic young partisans to draw 

Although the question of which road Japan will 
follow will thus depend, in large part, upon the com- 
parative leadership, appeal and organizational ability of 
the competing Japanese blocs, the Allies will undoubt- 
edly have it in their power to determine which forces 
in Japan emerge triumphant, 

It has been said that while bayonets cannot make a 
people free, they can kill their jailers. There is prob- 
ably no place in the world where this idea is more im- 
portant than in Japan. During the initial period of peace 
the Allies, willy-nilly, will wield a tremendous power, 
a power capable of shaping the future of Japan. The 
victors can define the war criminals, and thus determine 
what military fascist elements remain free to pollute the 
political atmosphere. The victors also have the power of 


deciding what is to be the character of the native offi- 
cials they choose to leave in office. Occupation carries 
with it the power to control the press, radio and public 
assembly, and thus to decide what groups will have ac- 
cess to these media. The terms of armistice and repara- 
tions will delineate to a considerable extent the character 
and direction of the postwar economy. It is within our 
power to pave the way in one direction, and to erect 
roadblocks in the other. 

If the course of least resistance and least effort is 
followed by the Anglo-American Allies, Japan will be 
smaller and weaker, but nevertheless only a slightly 
modified version of prewar Japan, 

In the past our closest diplomatic and economic ties 
have been with the civilian members of Japan's ruling 
oligarchy or with the "Old Gang," as it is frequently 
called. There are literally hundreds of business and gov- 
ernment officials who are Western-educated and have 
excellent contacts in the Anglo-American world. Vir- 
tually all of these supported Japanese aggression, while 
it was successful, but many of them have not been di- 
rectly or publicly associated with the extreme militarist 
point of view and thus feel that they can claim that 
they really have been angels of peace. And their case is 
helped considerably by congenital Anglo-American re- 
luctance to believe anything wrong of Japanese who 
speak English, drink Scotch-and-sodas and don't wear 
army uniforms. 

These defenders of the old order in Japan are not 
only experienced in business and well known but also 
attractive in other ways to Allied conservatives. They 
can pose as bulwarks of "order" and "stability," against 
"chaos" and "anarchy," in Japan and the Far East in 
general. Moreover, they can offer commercial induce- 


ments to trade-hungry Anglo-American exporters and 

The Allied governments, with the possible exception 
of the Soviet Union, have .considerably less in common 
with the advocates of a new Japan. Their names and 
faces are largely unknown to the outside world. Some of 
them, particularly the handful of liberal and radical 
aristocrats, have studied in Western universities; but 
there are more graduates of political prisons than of 
Princeton or Harvard among them. Comparatively few 
speak English, and fewer still have experienced the gay 
social whirl of the diplomatic set in Tokyo. Some are 
avowed Communists, and more have ideas regarded as 
too liberal by conservatives the world over. 

Furthermore, those desirous of reforming Japan must 
necessarily support policies which the United States and 
Britain at best have accepted with great reluctance 
wherever they have been proposed. The elimination of 
the aggressive elements of the old order in Japan re- 
quires the liquidation of thousands of jingoists and mili- 
tary fascists, and a purge of the Prussian-style bureauc- 
racy. The reorientation of the Japanese economy 
toward internal improvement rather than external ag- 
gression may require exteasive social reforms, perhaps 
the nationalization of the banks and heavy industries. 
These are all words and processes which are looked upon 
with a certain amount of suspicion in the Anglo-Ameri- 
can world. 

No matter how desperately we try to avoid it, the 
Allies are compelled to decide which road they want 
Japan to follow. We do not even have the luxury of 
avoiding decision or delaying action. Refusal or delay 
of action against elements of the older order can only 


be considered as negative support for that order. If we 
restrict the definition of war criminals to a handful of 
generals, admirals and colonels, we implicitly endorse 
the action of the other Japanese leaders by giving them 
immunity. Lack of Interest or effort to rescue the po- 
litical prisoners before they are slaughtered by their 
military fascist jailers can readily be interpreted as ^a 
lack of interest in the development of a new, democratic 
and antirnilitarist leadership. 

Therefore, a decision on Japan's future is not only 
important but also unavoidable. It is not a problem which 
can be solved adequately by reliance on magic words 
like "moderate" and "extremist," "hard peace" and "soft 
peace," Nor can a correct decision be reached on the 
basis of prejudice be It racial, conservative, anti- 
Russian, pro-Chinese or any other. 

We must analyze and understand the reasons for the 
backwardness and barbarism of Japan. We must see in 
these facts, not the eternal characteristics of a people, 
but the result of specific historic situations, which have 
transformed the Japanese into blind and frequently 
brutal tools of military fascism. It is only by understand- 
ing the reasons for the degradation of the Japanese that 
we can arrive at the means for leading them out of the 
confines of their crimes- 

The Allies have spent millions of lives and billions 
In treasure to repulse the aggression of Japan. We have 
had to learn the Japanese language, to study the effec- 
tiveness of their military and naval arms and to pin- 
point the location of their factories. 

An infinitely smaller effort has been made to under- 
stand the basic political and economic forces which un- 
leashed this aggression. Thousands of American service- 
men know the classes of Japanese naval vessels and their 


offensive potential; but few Americans have any real 
knowledge of the classes in Japanese society, and their 
roles in the war. Thousands know the names of every 
Japanese plane type in action; but only a handful know 
more than a half-dozen names of important Japanese 
leaders. And who will say that the knowledge required 
to keep the peace is less important than the knowledge 
required to achieve the peace? 

The securing of this peace is a people's responsibility 
which cannot be safely relegated in entirety to the 
"skilled hands" of the experts. In the past, while many 
of our officials dealing with the Far East have per- 
formed most commendably, others have been charac- 
terized by what some in the services aptly describe as 
"unusual density above and beyond the call of duty/' 

When Colonel Evans F. Carlson, leader of "Carlson's 
Raiders," returned to Pearl Harbor in the fall of 1943 
after the seventy-six-hour conquest of Tarawa by the 
United States Marines, he was asked for an explanation 
of the success of that exploit. He credited it to "the 
unflinching determination of our men to do the job 
after they had been given understanding of its necessity." 

The people of the United States and the United Na- 
tions have most assuredly been given adequate evidence 
of the necessity of understanding Japan. They have 
paid most grievously in blood for previous lack of un- 
derstanding. Having acquired the lesson so painfully, it 
is to be hoped that they will attack the problem of 
Japan's future with a determination akin to that with 
which their armed forces took Tarawa and the ob- 
jectives beyond on the road to Tokyo. Otherwise we 
must be considered as poorly prepared to secure the 
peace in the Pacific as we were at the outset to wage 
the war. 




During the first half of 1945 there* was 
considerable concern about the possibility that Japan, 
stunned by military setbacks, would tempt us with an 
enticing offer for a negotiated peace. In February Ad- 
miral William F. Halsey, Jr., thought the situation im- 
portant enough to warn that America would be "com- 
mitting the greatest crime in the history of our coun- 
try" if it failed to exact "absolute and unconditional 

The fear that the wily and ruthless leaders of Japan 
would attempt some stratagem to avoid the consequences 
of their deeds and set the stage for a future comeback 
was more than justified. But those who warned only 
against a comeback by means of a negotiated peace 
grossly underestimated the skill and cunning of what 
they considered the moderate members of Japan's rul- 
ing clique* 

Strange and contradictory as the idea may seem, it 
is entirely possible -for the civilian members of Japan's 
ruling oligarchy to win the equivalent of a negotiated 
peace that is } the chance to make a comeback despite 
acceptance of unconditional surrender! 


The ruling oligarchy of Japan and particularly its 
more traditional or "moderate" wing is admirably 


equipped In both experience and organization to rescue 
that nation from its present predicament. 

It must be remembered that whatever shortcomings 
Japan has had in material resources, it has not lacked in 
the resources of leadership highly capable of exploiting 
Japan's opportunities and wriggling out of Japan's dif- 
ficulties. It is only necessary to recall that less than 
eighty years ago Japan was a weak, strife-torn country, 
lacking important resources and possessing a backward 
agriculture and almost no modern industry, yet by 
1942 it had been able to usurp the fabulous Pacific pos- 
sessions of the Dutch, French and British Empires and 
deal a punishing blow to the United States at Pearl 
Harbor, Guam, Wake and in the Philippines. 

The survival of the ruling class which has made these 
successes possible is made more likely by the peculiar 
structure of the Japanese organs of power. Although 
an absolute and divine monarchy in name, Japan's gov- 
ernment in the modern period has been an oligarchy, 
composed of four main groups, or batsu: the militarists or 
Gumbatsu; the landed court aristocracy or Mombatsu; 
the giant financial trusts or Zaibatsu; and the Prussian- 
style bureaucrats or Kambatm. 

This type of organization is extremely flexible and 
capable of maintaining continuity despite considerable 
shifts in the political, economic, military and inter- 
national fields. After World War I, the Zaibatsu (finan- 
cial trusts) became the most influential of the factions 
in the ruling oligarchy. In the 'thirties, the militarists 
(Gumbatsu), spearheaded by the Kwantung Army ex- 
tremists, elbowed their way into an increasingly large 
share of the ruling power. The assassination of the more 
cautious financiers and aristocrats eliminated some op- 
ponents within the oligarchy, and frightened others into 


submission. At the same time the militarists nurtured 
dissidents within the ranks of opposing batsu. A group 
of "New Bureaucrats" with a militarist orientation was 
used to replace the less adventurist "Old Bureaucrats/' 
The militarists also sponsored a group of New Capital- 
ists (Shin Zaibatsu} who were completely dependent 
on war for their profits. 

The first War Cabinet of General To jo was the high- 
est point of militarist ascendancy, because it was almost 
entirely restricted to Kwantung Army militarists and 
New Bureaucrats. Contrary to the situation in Germany, 
the ascendancy of the Japanese militarists did not mean 
the purging of all the other elements in the oligarchy. 
The other batsu were pushed into the background, but 
as military reverses weakened the Tojo government, 
they once again became active. The Cabinet of General 
Koiso, who replaced Tojo, consisted primarily of a 
combination of the militarists and the Zaibatsu. The 
Cabinet of Admiral Baron Kantaro Suzuki, established in 
April 1945, shunted the more reckless elements into 
the background and placed the direction of state affairs 
in the hands of a relatively small group of trusted, 
elderly advisers of the Emperor. All four traditional 
groups were represented: Zaibatsu, Mombafsu^ Kam~ 
batsu and Gumbatsu. All that was required to make it 
a "transition to peace" Cabinet was the dumping of the 
militarists or Gumbatsu. Naturally, a ruling group as 
flexible as Japan's has a greater chance of survival than 
that of Germany in which Doenkz was the only alter- 
native to Hitler. 


It is possible to predict that the surviving members of 
Japan's flexible oligarchy will have two outstanding ob- 
jectives for their post-defeat strategy. The first is the 
retention of control of Japan's economy and govern- 
ment in their own hands. The second is to help create 
and to exploit disunity among the victor powers in 
the hope of persuading one power or set of powers to 
rebuild Japan as a bulwark or counter to the others. 

The struggle on the part of members of the present 
oligarchy to hold on to state power is certain to be one 
of the central conflicts of the early postwar years. They 
realize the necessity of sharing this power with the 
Allied military administration or Allied control com- 
mission. But they are adamant against sharing it with 
Japanese outside the oligarchy. They confidently ex- 
pect that the Allies will allow the authority wielded 
by the control commission during the occupation to 
revert at its close to the oligarchy, but native Japanese 
might not be so generous. 

The retention of control of the state apparatus by the 
members of the present ruling group would be essential 
to a future aggressive comeback. The conduct of an 
aggressive foreign policy by a state with as limited re- 
sources as Japan requires the welding of the populace 
into an obedient, highly effective weapon of war. This 
can be done only by a tightly knit, farsighted ruling 
group with considerable power and the ability to use 
it effectively over a long period of time. 

The much-commented-on suicidal fanaticism with 
which the Japanese have fought is testimony to the 
effective use to which the present ruling group has 
put its control of the Japanese state over the last three 


quarters of a century. A specially created system of 
Emperor-worship, supported by an educational program 
and controlled propaganda, has convinced the average 
Japanese of his country's right to dominate the Orient 
and his individual obligation to die, if necessary, to 
achieve this goal. An equally elaborate system of "dan- 
gerous thoughts" legislation, police spying, censorship, 
jailing and torture has succeeded in keeping the Japa- 
nese opponents of aggression ineffectual. Therefore, re- 
tention of the system of Emperor-worship and control 
of education, police, communications, propaganda, cen- 
sorship and the like are essential if the Japanese are to 
be regimented to the same purpose as before. 

The most critical period for the group seeking a 
comeback will be the first one or two years after de- 
feat. The psychological impact of defeat will neces- 
sarily be tremendous. Japan has never in its history suf- 
fered invasion, and its aggressive career of the past 
half-century has been virtually without setback, much 
less defeat. Adding to their difficulty will be those 
thousands of disillusioned soldiers from the garrisons 
which lived only on the unfulfilled promises of the 
Japanese high command, and the arrival of political 
agitators trained in Yenan by the Japanese People's 
Emancipation League. 

On the economic side bombing has produced whole- 
sale devastation accompanied by disruption of communi- 
cations, utilities and production. Domestic crop short- 
ages and disorganization of distribution and depletion 
of the fishing industry may produce famine conditions 
in the cities. Food shortages and the shutdown of war 
industries will throw millions back on the minute farms. 
Years of malnutrition, destruction of houses and break- 
downs in sanitation and public health services will prob- 


ably breed epidemics and swell the already fantastic 
total of tuberculosis cases. 

Under such conditions, it is clear that Japanese gov- 
ernmental authority will rest on weak foundations and 
will probably seek support from the occupying powers. 


One might expect that one of the most difficult prob- 
lems facing those in Japan attempting to retain power 
would be that of convincing the United Nations' gov- 
ernments to allow those tainted with aggression to re- 
main in authority. This task was made immeasurably 
easier in the fall of 1944 by the emergence of a new 
theory in important circles in the foreign offices of 
Great Britain and the United States. 

The magic word in this theory is stability. 

On the American side this theory received its first 
major official emphasis in December 1944 during the 
hearings held by the Senate Foreign Relations Com- 
mittee on the appointment of Mr. Grew as Under- 
secretary of State. In response to a question by Senator 
Guffey of Pennsylvania on his attitude toward keeping 
Hirohito in power, Mr. Grew declared that he wanted 
to keep the way open to support the Emperor because 
he might turn out to be "the sole stabilizing force" and 
if we did not support him we might have "the burden 
of maintaining and controlling for an indefinite period 
a disintegrating community of over 70,000,000 people." 

This emphasis on the necessity of maintaining stabil- 
ity and preventing chaos by retaining elements of the 
previous aggressive structure was developed to a much 
more impressive and explicit extent in an amazing docu- 
ment entitled Japan in Defeat, a report submitted by the 


Royal Institute of International Affairs > to the Ninth 
International Conference of the Institute of Pacific Re- 
lations, held in Hot Springs in January 1945. 

The Royal Institute, or "Chatham House" as it is 
sometimes called, is best described as an authoritative but 
unofficial auxiliary of the British Foreign Office. The 
study group which prepared the document was headed 
by Sir Paul Butler, K.C.M.G., Adviser to the Foreign 
Office in 1944, and for two years previous to that 
Director-General of the Far Eastern Bureau of the 
British Ministry of Information at New Delhi. The re- 
mainder of the group included some nine other ex- 
residents in the Japanese Empire with official, educa- 
tional, religious, journalistic or military experience in 
Japanese affairs. Consequently it is safe to assume that 
this study represents a significant and authoritative 
stratum of expert opinion in Great Britain, including 
important foreign service officials. 

This study systematically discredits every alternative 
for Japan except a return to "the institutions and forces 
which have preserved her equilibrium in the past . * * y * 

It refers slightingly to the Japanese as an "obedient 
herd" in which "the political energy which breeds suc- 
cessful revolutionaries has hitherto been lacking." It 
goes on to express "misgivings regarding Japanese ability 
to operate democratic institutions" and conies to the 
conclusion that "liberalism cannot be numbered among 
those elements of stability upon which Japan must rely 
in the impending disaster," 

Apparently forgetting its charge that the Japanese 
have lacked "the political energy which breeds success- 
ful revolutionaries," the Royal Institute report warns 
that the "political confusion"' which it associates with 
a non-authoritarian regime in Japan may result in an 


"agrarian-communist revolution" or "theocratic com- 
munism." "Theocratic communism" is the phrase the 
report uses to describe rule by the fascist-minded young 
officers. Apparently no distinction is made between the 
theories of the Communists who have rotted in jails 
during the last two decades and those of the military 
fascists who have been ruling the roost. 

Having discarded the possibility of constitutional 
democratic advance and raised the specter of a com- 
munist or fascist revolution, the Royal Institute docu- 
ment comes to the conclusion that in the interest of 
"stability" and "equilibrium" it will be necessary for 
Japan to revert to the prewar ruling groups minus the 
most obnoxious militarists, but most definitely including 
the aristocrats. 

The tenderness with which the Japanese monarchy is 
discussed is worthy of note: 

The present generation of peasants cannot be expected 
to support with conviction any other than a monarchial 
regime. . . . Bewildered by defeat and encircled by a hostile 
world, they are likely to coalesce round the refuge of the 
Throne. No alternative to a monarchial system, under the 
present Emperor or some other member of his family, is 
likely to provide that focus of stability which will be essen- 
tial if the State is not to dissolve into chaos in the impend- 
ing crisis, 

The report makes it clear that it expects that, in this 
monarchial regime which will prevent Japan from dis- 
solving into "chaos," the leadership will be in the hands 
of the upper middle class: the large trusts, the bureauc- 
racy, advanced politicians, supposedly moderate gen- 
erals and admirals, and a sprinkling of liberals. Then, 
somewhat apologetically: 


If this looks suspiciously like a resuscitation of the "old 
gang," the answer is that a more advanced democratic 
administration could, for the present at least, scarcely main- 
tain itself without foreign support. 

Perhaps the climax of this astounding document Is 

the fact that the authors are apparently not only willing 
to leave the Old Gang in power, but also to permit them 
an army. The reasons given are eminently worth quot- 
ing: - 

... It is very doubtful if the militarist obsession of the 
Japanese imagination can be removed by external pressure, 
since this is a symptom of a national disease which demands 
pathological, rather than surgical treatment. . . . Notwith- 
standing the insubordination and terrorism for which mili- 
tary and naval officers were responsible between 1932 and 
1936, it remains true that, in internal emergencies, the 
armed forces have shown themselves to be a stable element 
in the State. . . . [They] embody a spirit of discipline 
without which the Japanese might [have to] find new re- 
sources of character with which to check the disruption of 
society in the postwar confusion. Whatever difficulties and 
disadvantages may be entailed, events may compel the allied 
Governments to set up a foreign administration in Japan. 
But, if the Japanese are to remain responsible for their own 
destinies, in a situation demanding, above all, maintenance 
of authority and discipline, the co-operation of some strong, 
organized military force will be indispensable. If the army 
refuses its support to whatever regime is established, mili- 
tary factions may join forces with extremist groups with 
serious results which might by no means be confined to 

Sir Paul Butler has summarized the group's position 
admirably, in declaring: 


... It has been impossible to avoid the conclusion that 
there are certain stabilizing institutions in Japan for which, 
although in their present form they have contributed 
directly to the aggressive past, adequate substitutes are un- 
likely to be forthcoming in the present immature stage of 
Japanese development. Instances of such institutions are the 
Throne, the army, the great business families and the educa- 
tional system. 


In the early summer of 1945 there arose a crescendo 
of American voices calling for a peace with Japan which 
might be "unconditional surrender" in name but would 
be conditional surrender in fact. 

The advocates of this conditional surrender included 
responsible officials, members of Congress and conserva- 
tive columnists known to be close to high-ranking mili- 
tary and government officers. In general they advocated 
permitting Japan unlike Nazi Germany to retain in- 
tact its rilling oligarchy, including the Emperor institu- 
tion, if it would yield its territorial conquests and give 
up its army, navy and munitions plants. 

In May 1945 Captain E. M. Zacharias, U.S.N., former 
American Naval Attache in Tokyo and an expert lin- 
guist in the Japanese language, made a curious broadcast 
to Japan. He appealed personally in the most cordial 
language to leading military and diplomatic figures in 
the Japanese oligarchy whom he had known including 
ex-Premier Yonai, Admiral Nomura, Mr. Kurusu and 
Premier Suzuki. He transmitted the May 8 statement 
of President Truman that "unconditional surrender does 
not mean the extermination or the enslavement of the 


Japanese people." He then added that the Japanese 
"could choose a peace with honor." 

Senator Homer Capehart, Indiana Republican, was one 
of the most vocal advocates of a quick peace which 
would leave the Japanese oligarchy in undisturbed con- 
trol of that country's state apparatus. In a press con- 
ference on July 2 he declared that the Japanese had 
offered to give up all their conquered territory, their 
army and navy and war-making facilities and the only 
reservation they insisted on was that Emperor Hirohito 
be allowed to remain on the Japanese throne. He strongly 
advocated acceptance of these terms in order to avoid 
the sacrifice of "8000 casualties a week and a billion 
dollars every four days." 

On the very next day Representative Clare Hoffman, 
a Republican from Michigan, showed a touching con- 
cern for the Japanese oligarchy. In a speech in the I louse 
of Representatives which echoed Senator Capehart's po- 
sition he declared: "If we believe as we have so often 
professed that every people should have the right to 
their own form of government, their own religion, 
certainly we do not intend, when a complete victory has 
been won, to attempt to compel the Japanese to accept 
a form of government or of religion which is abhorrent 
to them." Representative Hoff man neglected to state that 
we had never professed that the people of aggressor 
states should have the right to retain an aggressive, fascist 
type of government. 

At first comparatively little attention was paid to 
these suggestions since they were considered to be the 
narrow views of the ultraconservative wing of the Re- 
publican Party. However, in the middle of July at 
the beginning of the Potsdam conference of the Big 
Three a series of reports by reliable reporters In 


trustworthy newspapers such as the New York Herald 
Tribune and the Christian Science Monitor indicated 
that such views were held in more authoritative quarters. 
It was reported that President Truman carried with him 
to Potsdam surrender terms which called for Japan's 
yielding of all conquered territories, the destruction of 
the fleet, army and air force, and the elimination of 
shipbuilding, aircraft and armament facilities. These 
were described as the terms of "unconditional sur- 
render," but it was noted that unlike the terms for Nazi 
Germany they contained no provision for full-scale 
occupation of the Japanese homeland or for the elimina- 
tion of the Old Gang of aggressive autocrats! 


If this Old Gang is permitted to retain power, their 
main opportunity to re-establish Japan as an aggressive 
power depends on the extent to which unbridled eco- 
nomic competition and balance-of-power politics rather 
than international economic co-operation and collec- 
tive security dominate international relations in the 
postwar Pacific arena. If the United Nations learn the 
lessons of the war and remain united on the basis of 
enlightened self-interest, most international political 
problems can be solved through consultation and com- 
promise. This may be prevented, however, by the 
emergence of unrestrained nationalism in the United 
States or elsewhere. 

If this is the case, and disunity and competition be- 
tween the Big Four prevail, it is entirely possible that 
certain groups in the Allied countries will seek to re- 
build a conservative Japan as a bulwark of their po- 
sition in the Orient. 


There are still some conservative British businessmen 
and officials whose memories skip lightly over the face- 
dapping at Tientsin, the rape of Hong Kong and the 
brutal treatment meted out by the Japanese to the 
British prisoners of war in the steaming jungles of South- 
east Asia. They remember? instead, the substantial ad- 
vantages which accrued under the old Anglo-Japanese 
Alliance which lasted from 1902 to 192 L 

By means of this alliance Britain was able to utilixe 
its junior partner In further opening China to British 
commerce and investment and in all but eliminating 
Czarist Russia as a competitor, 

Japan's successful war on China In 1894-1895, spear- 
headed by a predominantly British-built navy, compelled 
China to permit foreigners to establish factories in China. 
Japan was not acting for itself, but primarily as an 
agent for Britain, because its own industry was In Its 

Britain was again a major beneficiary of the Russo- 
Japanese War, which came just two years after the 
conclusion of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902. 
British and Russian Imperialism had been in conflict in 
several areas and the British authorities not only wel- 
comed the alliance but enabled Japan to wage successful 
war by strengthening the Japanese economy and fleet by 
loans and naval construction. In terms of Immediate 
results this policy was eminently successful, for the Rus- 
sian defeat at the hands of Japan, plus the Revolution of 
1905 which was its product, considerably weakened 
Russian power and importance as a world competitor. 

This support of Japan as a bulwark of the status quo 
In the Far East did not end with the termination of the 
Anglo-Japanese Alliance in 1921. It was strong enough 
to prevent effective Anglo- American action in 1931 


when Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson attempted 
to organize opposition to the Japanese seizure of Man- 
churia. The degree of sympathy for Japan's role in some 
British circles is indicated by a statement made in 1931 
by Colonel Aniery, ^ ater ^^^^ me Secretary of State 
for India: "I confess why, whether 

In act, or in word, should go in- 

dividually or in this mat- 

ter. . . . Who is there among us to cast the first stone 
and to say that Japan ought not to have acted with the 
object of creating peace and order in Manchuria and 
defending herself against the continuous aggression of 
a vigorous Chinese nationalism? Our whole policy in 
India, our whole policy in Egypt, stands condemned if 
we condemn Japan." 


The willingness of certain conservative, Empire- 
minded British circles to consider using Japan again as 
a pawn in power politics is certainly not a product of 
any peculiarly British shortsightedness but rather the 
response of a small segment of British thought to per- 
vasive concern over Britain's precarious position in the 
postwar world. 

The war has cost the British dearly and at the war's 
end Britain must reckon with the industrialization of 
former British markets like Australia, the existence of a 
large war debt in the form of sterling balance held by 
India and other big customers, the loss of a large part 
of its overseas investments to pay for war purchases, and 
the prospect of increased trade competition from some 
of its own Dominions particularly Canada. The British 


are also keenly aware that America will emerge from the 
war with an enormously increased industrial capacity 
and vast capital reserves, and they are fearful that the 
United States will try to obtain new outlets for this en- 
larged industrial pJ an ^^^ nc ^ in ^ a P owcr ^ c ^ vc 
for new export footholds already 

gained by Americ^^d production methods 

in all parts of a result of the Icnd-Icase 


In addition to the huge American economic potential, 
Britain is also concerned with maintaining its position 
on the continent in the face of the tremendous growth of 
Soviet power, prestige and influence. Marshal Smuts, 
leading defender and theoretician of the British Em- 
pire, has indicated British concern by referring to Rus- 
sia as "the new colossus that bestrides the Continent," 

Added to this is the possible emergence of a strong, 
nationalistic China on the borders of India and Burma. 
This growth of nationalism in China is considered by 
many Empire-minded Britishers to be a threat not 
merely to British interests in Hong Kong and the re- 
mainder of China but a danger as well to the British 
position in India, kingpin of the Empire. There already 
exists a considerable bond of sympathy between Gen- 
eralissimo Chiang Kai-shek and some of the Indian Na- 
tional Congress leaders, particularly Jawaharlal Nehru, 
Some Britons fear that a free and strong China may 
serve not only as an inspiring example to Indian na- 
tionalists, but perhaps as an ally as welL 

With these developments to cope with in the post- 
war period, it is not completely surprising that some 
conservatives, schooled in the traditional balancc-of- 
power techniques, and lacking confidence in the emerg- 
ing international organization, should again seize upon 


Japan as an instrument for Improving Britain's adverse 
balance in the Orient. 

A "reliable" Japan might serve to check the progress 
of Chinese nationalism. It is noteworthy that even con- 
servative Chinese reco g n i^^^ possibility that a con- 
servative, moderately will be used to coun- 
ter China's growth. conference of 
the Institute of Pacific 1945 the 
Chinese delegates, several of wnSmhad conferred with 
the Generalissimo before flying to the conference, took 
a determined stand in favor of a liberal democratic 
Japan against the position of most of the British dele- 
gates, who preferred a conservative Japan. Some of the 
Chinese delegates supported democratic reforms in 
Japan, such as reforms of the agrarian system, which 
they would not dare advocate for China! 

Some British and American conservatives consider 
the resurgence of Japan as a means of curbing the great 
growth in the power and prestige of the Soviet Union. 
This growth is of greater concern to British conserva- 
tives because It has affected areas in Europe which they 
have traditionally considered a British preserve. Some 
quarters in London speculate as to whether the presence 
of a moderately strong and conservative Japan on the 
Soviet Union's Eastern flank might curb its influence 
in the West, by making it necessary for the Soviets to 
divert attention to the East. 

Others feel that a conservative Japan will prove a 
bulwark against communism in the East. In the London 
Daily Mail of March 6, 1944, Simon Harcourt-Smith, 
the eminent British Far Eastern expert, declared that a 
group of tories financiers, businessmen and members 
of Parliament has begun working for a compromise 
peace with Japan, playing upon the old bogey of com- 


munism and insisting that Japan could be a bulwark 
against it in Asia. 


Those who are of using Japan 

again as an policy would nat- 

urally emphasize to keep Japan under 

control as an instrument and not let it get out of hand. 
They point out that Japan will be thoroughly "man- 
ageable" in defeat, since the application of the peace 
terms strips it of its colonies, war industries, army and 

But there is an essential contradiction in such think- 
ing. A country is only valuable as a "counter" or a "bul- 
wark" insofar as it is strong. And the moment it becomes 
valuable as a counter or bulwark it becomes dangerous 
as well The case of Germany after the last war is the 
best case in point. 

Britain strengthened Germany after Versailles as a 
means of countering the domination of the continent by 
France. In the 'thirties British and French conservatives 
applauded the rearmament of Germany because the 
Nazis promised them they would serve as a bulwark 
against communism. Thus a prostrate foe was helped to 
become a counter, permitted to become a bulwark, and 
wound up as an almost successful aspirant to world 

And there can be little doubt that the Japanese are 
every whit as skillful as the Germans at this game. The 
provocation and exploitation of international disunity 
is a game at which they are past masters. The extent to 
which the utilization of international differences is in- 
grained in ,rnodern Japanese practice is indicated by the 


famous forecast of Viscount Tani, who In 1887 advised 
his government to "wait for the time of the confusion 
of Europe which must come eventually" and predicted 
that by taking advantage of it Japan could "become the 
chief of the Orient." 

yThe Japanese this strikingly 

shrewd advice to the years its 

diplomacy resembled a swivel-hipped 

football player engaged elaborate sort of 

broken field running. During its period of greatest weak- 
ness, in the early years after the Restoration of 1868, 
Japan managed to keep its independence largely by 
playing off Czarist Russia against Great Britain. Not 
only did it use British support for its wars against China 
and Russia, but when the burden of the war against the 
sprawling giant Russia became too heavy for the rickety 
Japanese economy to bear much longer, the Japanese 
took advantage of Russo-American friction and got 
Teddy Roosevelt to intervene in the nick of time to 
secure a Japanese victory. 

The first World War provided Japan with its most 
lush opportunities. Although their ideological sympa- 
thies lay with Junker Germany, the Japanese rulers 
joined the Allies and limited their participation to the 
seizure of German colonies and war profiteering, thus 
tremendously strengthening Japan's economy and stra- 
tegic situation. It was only when the Bolshevik Revo- 
lution produced a rift among the Allies which culminated 
in Allied intervention in Russia that Japan found she 
could spare the troops she had been unable to provide 
for the European war and she attempted to seize large 
sections of Siberia as booty. 

The emergence of Nazi Germany once more pro- 
vided the element of serious "confusion" among the non- 


Asiatic powers alluded to in Viscount Tani's prescrip- 
tion for conquest. Virtually every Nazi threat and 
attack was utilized as an opportunity for Japan to push 
Its ambition to emerge as "the chief of the Orient/' The 
very attack which was launched on December 7, 1941 
was timed to climax of the heavy 

German attacks the Anglo-American 

In short, Japan's aggressive successes in the past have 
been due in no small measure to the ability of its un- 
scrupulous and cunning leaders to stimulate and exploit 
the conflicts and divisions among other powers. There 
is every reason to anticipate that future Japanese leaders 
with aggressive ambitions will also attempt to take ad- 
vantage of stresses and strains in the international arena. 


Despite devastation and defeat Japan can make a 
comeback. Whether she does or not depends on whether 
the United Nations recognize and block the strategy, 
We should recognize that just as war is a continuation 
of politics by other means, peace can be a continuation of 
war by political means. 

The first objective for a comeback is to retain power 
in the hands of a section of the Old Gang. During 
our military occupation we will have a considerable 
amount of influence to exert in terms of the individuals 
and groups with whom we decide to work or decline to 
work. It will be necessary, within the limits of effective 
administration, to take advantage of every opportunity 
to remove from influence as many members * of , the 
Old Gang as is possible, replacing them by people of 
all shades of opinion who are interested not in a re- 


surgent Japan but In a reborn Japan purged of its ag- 
gressive oligarchy and its feudal fascist ideology, econ- 
omy and foreign policy. 

Another requirement for a Japanese comeback is 
the development of international disunity severe enough 
to persuade one or nations to per- 

mit or encourage the of a "reliable" 

Japan as a counter or another power or 

powers. The best precaution against this is to center 
every effort on overcoming differences among the major 
victors and to build a system of collective security and in- 
ternational collaboration which will preclude or sharply 
limit the international rivalries which might result in a 
resurgent Japan. 





An of more than five 

hundred jammed th^MBRshioned Caucus Room of the 
Senate Office Building on December 12, 1944. The 
object of their attention was the handsome gray-haired 
witness, Joseph Clark Grew. 

The drama of the occasion lay in the fact that these 
hearings were being held as a direct result of a revolt on 
the part of a group of President Roosevelt's staunchest 
New Deal supporters in the Senate, against the nomina- 
tion of a conservative slate of State Department execu- 
tives. The fundamental significance of this brief revolt 
was the deep uneasiness it revealed concerning the direc- 
tion of American foreign policy. 

The tumult over the nominations in general and that 
of Mr. Grew in particular had many of the characteris- 
tics of a natural storm. Like a thunderstorm it helped 
clear the atmosphere, by bringing to the fore popular 
fears concerning the effectiveness of American policy 
in the Far East and elsewhere. There was much thun- 
der which was little more than noise. On the other 
hand, there were some extremely effective flashes of 
lightning which illuminated the main problems momen- 


The concern over Mr. Grew's nomination really rep- 
resented a growing recognition and fear of a future 
State Department policy toward postwar Japan which 


would be merely a projection of the same theories which 
the State Department had attempted to apply in the 
prewar decade in an unsuccessful attempt to stave off 
the oncoming tide of aggression. The general pattern 
of the attack was that Mr. Grew was a gullible aristocrat 
and the chief conservative "Japan 

crowd" in the State would be likely 

to favor undemocratic Japan, thus 

laying the basis for Japan's comeback as an aggressive 

The Philadelphia Record, in an article on December 
6 which was later Inserted In the Congressional Record, 
declared that Mr. Grew "has frequently advocated a 
policy of doing business with Hirohito after the war. 
He says that we must preserve the Mikado as a Japanese 
symbol around which a stable, peaceful government 
can be built." 

PM called in, as a special writer on the Grew nomina- 
tion, Ramon Lavalle, who had served as a newspaperman 
and Argentine Consul in Japan until he quit in January 
1943 in protest against his country's refusal to co- 
operate with the United Nations. On the day of Mr. 
Grew's nomination, PM featured an article by Mr. 
Lavalle In which he associated the former Ambassador 
with "British and American tories who declare that the 
Emperor must be kept in a beaten Japan as a safeguard 
against Communism." 

Mr. Lavalle followed this up on the next day with 
an article in which he declared that, despite his "per- 
sonal integrity," Mr. Crew's appointment could only be 
accepted "with distress" because during his period as 
Ambassador he had followed a policy of "appeasement" 
and had "underestimated the [Japanese] aristocrats as 
our enemies, as much as he today overestimates them as 
our friends. . . ." 


Probably the most effective of the liberal critics of the 
Grew appointment was indefatigable, encyclopedic I. F. 
Stone, Washington Editor of the Nation and correspond- 
ent of PM. Mr. Stone summed up the liberal opposition 
to the Grew school of thought in a pungent editorial In 
PM on December 15. was a reply to Mr. 

Grew's statement Senate Foreign Relations 

Committee in defended his record as Am- 

bassador to Japan. Mr* Grew had declared that he 
had opposed an embargo on scrap iron and oil because 
that would have been an important step toward a war 
for which the American people were unprepared. lie 
had also pointed out that after defeat "the Emperor in- 
stitution might ... be the only political clement capa- 
ble of exercising a stabilizing influence." 

Mr. Stone hit back energetically against Mr* Crew's 

The misgivings aroused by Grew's appointment do not 
rest merely upon a record of past errors. His appearance 
before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee shows that 
he still defends them. Like Chamberlain in the West, Grew 
in the Far East warned against energetic measures to halt 
Japanese aggression when it might still have been halted. 

Grew's contacts were with the upper classes in Japan as 
those of his British counterpart, Sir Nevile Henderson, 
were with the upper classes in Germany. Grew helped keep 
alive the myth that we must take no energetic steps in the 
Sino-Japanese war, lest we "strengthen" the military, lest 
we undermine the position of the Japanese businessmen and 
the Japanese Emperor who were supposed to be trying to 
"hold back" the military. This was wishful thinking. 

It seems to us that Grew, in his appearance before the 
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, indicated that he had 
not yet shaken off the spell of that kind of thinking. He still 
thinks the Emperor, the heart and symbol of the Japanese 


official religion, the focus of its grandiose schemes of world 
conquest, might yet be used by us to bring into being a 
"peaceful" Japan. We ask the Senate to consider whether 
there is not great danger that this point of view may be 
utilized by the Japanese upper classes to keep themselves In 
power with our help after thewar* on the promise that they 
would be "peaceful" they may be, until 

they feel strong enough to 

Mr. Grew had thus become more than the distin- 
guished elderly gentleman who could be seen almost any 
noon walking along Seventeenth Street from the State 
Department to the ornate Metropolitan Club. He had 
become the personification of the predominant school of 
American policy toward Japan. Not only had he been 
the American Ambassador to Tokyo in the critical dec- 
ade preceding the outbreak of war, but in the two books 
and 250 speeches which followed upon his return to the 
United States he had emerged as the chief and only vocal 
protagonist of the approach to Japanese problems fol- 
lowed by the State Department in the days before Pearl 
In this discussion of the nomination of Mr. Grew it 
soon became clear that this was not a personal attack 
upon one of undoubted personal integrity who had spent 
forty years in the service of his country. Rather it was 
an attack upon an outstanding representative of the 
wealthy Groton-Harvard aristocracy in American diplo- 
macy who had become the symbol and foremost expo- 
nent of a Japan policy of dubious effectiveness. 


When Mr. Grew was appointed to Tokyo in 1932 he 
had already served twenty-eight years in the foreign 


service. He was first appointed by President Theodore 
Roosevelt to the position of clerk in the Consul 
General's office at Cairo, at the munificent salary of 
600 dollars a year. Thereafter he held progressively im- 
portant positions in Mexico City, St. Petersburg, Berlin 
and Vienna. . .*$ 

As a result of his experience at these posts 

he was appointed of the Division of West- 

ern European Affairs at the Department of State, in 
March 1918; he accompanied Colonel House to the pre- 
Armistice negotiations at Versailles, as Secretary to the 
American delegation, in October-November 1918, He 
served as Secretary General of the American Commis- 
sion to Negotiate Peace, with the rank of Minister. This 
rather important position enabled him to sit in on many 
of the private discussions of the Big Four; Wilson, 
Lloyd George, Clemenceau and Orlando. In January 
1919 he was designated American Secretary on the 
International Secretariat of the Peace Conference, 

Mr. Grew's first appointment as chief of a diplomatic 
mission came with his appointment as Minister to Den- 
mark in April 1920. He was transferred to the more im- 
portant post of Minister to Switzerland in 1921, where 
one of his additional duties was to keep an eye on the 
early efforts of the League of Nations. In 1922-1923 he 
was the American representative at the Conference on 
Near Eastern Affairs held at Lausanne and negotiated the 
Lausanne Treaty with Turkey, which he and Ismet 
Pasha signed in August 1923. This recognized Turkey 
if or the first time as a modern nation, free of extraterri- 

From 1924 to 1927 Mr. Grew served as Undersecre- 
tary of State in the Coolidge administration, the highest 
post to which a professional diplomat had risca* While 


Undersecretary", he served as Chairman of the Foreign 
Service Personnel Board, and the Board was under con- 
tinual fire for its favoritism. 

Until 1924, when the pay scales were revised, salaries 
were so meager that only those with independent means 
had been attracted, and th$ .foreign service had become 
the province of young me ^ j ^^2" ea ^h an( l social back- 

In 1926 and 1927 several very able and experienced 
men resigned because of the character of the assignments 
and promotions. Under severe pressure from Congress, 
Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg admitted that there 
had been rank favoritism for a few of the blue blood 
insiders and promised an improvement. It was under these 
conditions that Mr. Grew resigned as Undersecretary 
and "wrote his own ticket" as Ambassador to Turkey in 
May 1927. This position was both a prelude and a prep- 
aration for Mr. Grew's subsequent position as Ambassa- 
dor to Tokyo. 

When Mr. Grew became Ambassador to Japan in the 
spring of 1932, the State Department was headed by 
Henry L. Stimson, who had spent the previous nine 
months in a vigorous and unstinting effort to reverse the 
train of events begun by Japan's attack on Manchuria. 
He had attempted to needle the League of Nations into 
adopting collective economic sanctions against Japan. 
Disappointed at the failure of the League to take more 
f orceful action, Stimson had proclaimed that the United 
States would not recognize the legality of Japan's con- 
quest, and invited Britain and France to take similar 
steps. The British Foreign Office refused to associate it- 
self with Stimson's action. 

In the middle of January, 1932, fighting broke out in 
Shanghai and the war spilled over from Manchuria i 


China proper. In March Stimson was able to secure inter- 
national support for his doctrine of nonrecognition. By 

May 5, just before Mr. Grew left this country, Japan had 
agreed to peace terms under the pressure of foreign 
powers and the effective military resistance offered by 
the heroic Chinese Nineteenth Route Army at Shanghai. 
One of the ways in the American government 

showed its concern Japanese situation was by 

the appointment of a widely experienced and extremely 
conscientious professional foreign-service man to the post 
of Ambassador to Tokyo. 


Mr. Grew was going to require all his ability in his 
new post While he was crossing the United States to 
embark at San Francisco, a reporter met him at the train 
in Chicago on May 15 and informed him that the Japa- 
nese Premier, Inukai, had been murdered by the military 
fascists as a part of their campaign against those who 
were considered to be impeding the extremists 1 desire to 
rush into further military adventures. 

To meet this march of aggression Mr. Grew was 
armed with the State Department's simple formula for 
Japan: Uphold American rights and work for a victory 
of the Japanese "moderate" over the military extremists. 

The term "moderate" has been used by a generation of 
British and American diplomats and journalists to de- 
scribe the businessmen and other members of the Japa- 
nese oligarchy who have not been outspokenly and 
obviously anxious to precipitate war with the United 
States and Britain. It has been usual, however, to ex- 
aggerate the differences between these more cautious 


economic imperialists and the brash and adventurist mili- 
tary extremists. 

This concept of the Japanese so-called liberals or 
"moderates" as virtual angels of peace battling valiantly 
against the militarist devils will probably go down In the 
history of American Far Eastern relations, along with 
the quaint notion of Japan'c^|taoderate" navy, as one 
of the most important, and dangerous bits of 

folklore in American thinking about Japan. 

Like many other inaccurate theories, the concept of 
the uncompromising straggle of the "moderates" against 
the militarist extremists had its basis In an inaccurate 
evaluation of actual facts* The 'twenties had seen a strug- 
gle between the "positive" school of General Baron 
Tanaka and the "conciliatory" school of Baron Shide- 
hara, over the question of Japanese policy on the con- 
tinent. General Tanaka, author of the notorious "Tan- 
aka Memorial," was the leading advocate of an aggres- 
sive policy of conquest on the continent. The idea of 
"safe and sane" Japanese businessmen restraining Gen- 
eral Tanaka's army extremists was one which had ap- 
pealed to the succession of American diplomatic repre- 
sentatives of Presidents Harding, Coolidge and Hoover 
who had preceded Ambassador Grew. It was also one 
which appealed to the Japan specialists in the State De- 
partment, many of whom were graduates of the consular 
service and had extensive social contacts with Japanese 
business people. 

This theory had three fatal defects. First, it magnified 
a difference in tactics Into a difference in objective. The 
"moderates" were not believers In "peace at any price." 
They agreed wholeheartedly with the extremists on the 
necessity for Japanese domination of East Asia. They 


disagreed on the need for using military force until all 
other means had failed. They were confident that they 
could get control of China by economic penetration, 
political intrigue and bribery, without incurring the ex- 
pense of a Japanese military campaign and an interrup- 
tion of the lucrative trade with China. This policy of 
peaceful penetration additional advantage of not 

openly provoking the inMvention of the major Western 
powers, with the consequent risk of a war which Japan's 
economy could not sustain. 

Second, the proponents of the theory of peaceful 
Japanese businessmen battling the extremist militarists 
closed their eyes to the fact that even during the 'twen- 
ties a very important wing of Japanese Big Business, 
the House of Mitsui, had supported the army extremists. 

Third, the theory was defective in that It was static. 
It did not take into consideration the pressures of eco- 
nomic changes. As a result of the world-wide depression 
of 1929, Japan's foreign trade was almost cut in half. 
Consequently, by the time Mr. Grew reached Japan in 
1932 the most cautious elements in the business com- 
munity were beginning to think longingly of the com* 
petition-free, protected markets which would be avail- 
able in areas conquered and sealed off by the military. 

The Japan to which Mr. Grew's ship carried him in 
the late spring of 1932 was already on the toboggan slide 
toward war. The militarists, who were at the controls 
with increasing frequency, wished to go forward with 
the maximum speed possible under the circumstances. 
The "moderates," on the other hand, while they wanted 
to go in the same direction, attempted to retain control 
so that they could put on the brakes and make detours 
on occasion in order to reach the objective without un- 
necessarily risking a crack-up. 



Even before Mr. Grew presented his credentials to 
Emperor HIrohito, In an audience granted shortly after 
his arrival, the American Ambassador was prepared to be 
very friendly. 

Mr. Grew was not a modeil' 1 counterpart of George 
Taylor, the American Minister to Berlin in the 1840's, 
who, when asked why American diplomats were in- 
variably dressed in simple black while the emissaries of 
most other countries were resplendent In gilt and bro- 
cade, made the classic reply: "We are dressed in black 
because what we represent in European courts is the 
burial of monarchy*" 

One of the most attractive features of the "moderate" 
theory for Mr. Grew must have been the fact that none 
other than the "Son of Heaven" himself, Emperor Hiro- 
hlto, was listed as the "dean of the moderates." This com- 
forting aspect of the prevalent State Department theory 
kept alive the hope that someday, somehow, "Charlie" 
(as the Emperor was called by irreverent Americans) 
would step In and set things right. 

This Idea, too, was supported by a certain amount of 
circumstantial evidence. The reasoning which pictured 
the Japanese businessman as a "moderate" was equally 
applicable to the Emperor. The Emperor was a "busi- 
nessman" in the sense that the Imperial Household was 
one of the largest holders of bank and industrial stocks 
in Japan. Furthermore, during the 'twenties the Emperor 
had selected as his close advisers aristocratic representa- 
tives of the Japanese business world: Count Makino, 
Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, Baron Ikki, Minister of 
the Imperial Household, and Prince Salon) i, the last of 


the Elder Statesmen. The first two were closely allied 
with the Mitsubishi interests, while Prince Saionji was 

related to the Sumitomo family. 

Count Makino was apparently Ambassador Crew's 

favorite Japanese. He describes the Count as follows in 
a diary entry of July 13, 1932, a month after he had 
arrived In Japan and after a "long and intimate" talk 
with him: 

In every nation great gentlemen stand out, and during 
our entire conversation, which was by all odds the plcasant- 
est I've had here, Count Makino impressed me as a really 
great gentleman. He is close to the Emperor but he doesn't, 
alas, carry much weight in these days of military domi- 

The talk was pleasant partly because Count Makino 
reassured the Ambassador, telling him that the extremism 
of the Japanese militarists was a thing of the moment, 

The strongest endorsement of the Emperor's ability to 
curb Japan's drift to fascist militarism was given by 
Count Makino three years later at a "brilliant' 1 dinner 
staged by Viscount Matsudaira for the Japanese aristoc- 
racy and leading diplomats. In a diary entry on May 22, 
1935, Mr. Grew relates: 

After dinner I sat with Count Makino and had an inter- 
esting talk, in the course of which he told me of a conver- 
sation he had just had with Dubosc, editor of the Paris 
Temps, who has been traveling in Japan. Dubosc apparently 
told Count Makino that he considered the political situation 
in Japan as "dangerous" owing to the strife and corruption 
among the political parries and the risk of Military Fascism 
on the one hand and of Communism on the other, 

Makino said to Dubosc (as the former repeated the con- 
versation to me): "When you return to Paris and make 
your report or write your editorials on the domestic sir 


tion In Japan, cut out the word 'danger' from your vocab- 
ulary. We have a safeguard in Japan which other countries 
do not possess in the same degree, namely the Imperial 
Household. There will never be 'danger' from military 
Fascism or Communism or from any other land of 'ism' 
simply because the Emperor is supreme and will always 
have the last word." 

I have never heard the old man speak so emphatically or 
exhibit so much patriotic emotion; his eyes filled with tears 
and he had to wipe his glasses. The manner in which he 
talked tonight his emphasis and emotion gave a momen- 
tary revelation of the intensity of their devotion to the 
Throne, and I think that the force of that devotion through- 
out the nation in spite of all the bickerings and political 
agitations and even assassinations or perhaps because of 
them is stronger, much stronger, than foreigners gener- 
ally appreciate. At any rate, I was greatly impressed tonight 
by this momentary glimpse into the mind of the usually 
suave, courteous and eminently gentle Count Makino, whom 
I shall always regard as one of the world's greatest gen- 

The Ambassador's anticipation that the Emperor 
would prove an effective bulwark against militarist domi- 
nation was influenced also by his friendly regard for 
other members of the court circle. This is indicated by 
the oft-quoted entry of June 11, 1940, in which Mr. 
Grew tells of the gathering at the funeral rites for Prince 

After eight years in Japan I had the feeling today of not 
being outsiders but an intimate part of that group, almost 
as if the gathering were of old family friends in Boston 
and not in Tokyo. We knew well a great many of the 
Japanese and their wives who were sitting around us, mem- 
bers of outstanding families and clans. The Tokugawas, 
Konoyes, Matsudakas, Matsukatas might have been Salton- 


stalls and Sedgwicks and Peabodys. We knew their positions, 
their Influence and reputations, their personalities, and their 
inter-relationships as well as those of a similar group in 
Boston. And we felt too that they regarded us as a sort 
of part of them. 

In virtually every decadent or retrograde society in 
modern history there has been a handful of aristocrats 
who have been able to rise above their group or class 
loyalties and point the way to a new and better world. 
Apparently the American Embassy in Tokyo mistook 
the Makinos, Matsudairas and similar aristocrats for 
people of this caliber. 

This Impression was probably heightened in some 
measure by the vehemence with which the fanatic young 
militarists attacked them. Count Makino, Viscount Saito 
and other court-circle "moderates" were always high on 
the black lists of young assassins who hoped to clear 
the way for unrestrained military adventurism by elimi- 
nating all those who would Impose restraints even If out 
of caution. Both in the May fifteenth Incident of 1932, 
when Premier Inukai was killed, and in the February 
twenty-sixth uprising of 1936, when Viscount Saito was 
killed, Count Makino was also a target but escaped 

But Count Makino and the others were as opposed to 
democracy as they were to military dictatorship. And 
despite the extreme form which their disagreements 
finally took, their differences with the militarists were 
still on strategy and timing rather than on objective. 

There can be no better proof of this essential unity of 
objective than that afforded by Mr* Grew's book, Ten 
Years in Japan, whose diary entries have already been 
quoted. In an entry dated September 18, 1933, just two 
years after the Japanese conquest of Manchuria, Mr- 


Grew quotes a story written for him "in confidence" by 
an American newspaperman. It tells of two interviews, 
with two leading "moderates." One was with Viscount 
Salto, who was Premier of Japan at that time. The news- 
paperman reported that the Viscount had Informed him 
that "the Manchurian Incident should never have hap- 
pened," because "the same result could have been 
achieved without offending the world" 

This same American reporter also told of an interview 
with another Japanese whom he describes as "one of 
the Intellectual leaders of Japan," a person who appar- 
ently "narrowly escaped assassination at the time of the 
Manchurian Incident, having rashly raised his voice 
against the military party." This antimilitarist intellectual 
leader also had strong views on Manchuria: 

He said that the policy toward which his party is work- 
ing is to recognize the Chinese ownership of Manchuria; 
but to extend the Liaotung lease over the whole of Man- 
churia for ninety -nine years. 

Thus, both leading "moderates" approved of the fact 
of the seizure of Manchuria, but objected to the method. 
The "intellectual leader" felt that Japan could have got- 
ten all of Manchuria on a ninety-nine-year lease, while 
Premier Saito also wanted to secure Manchuria "without 
offending the world." This is perhaps the best proof 
that the distinction between the "moderates" and the ex- 
tremists was a question of method and not objective. 


There can be little doubt that non-extremists had 
effective techniques of persuasion. They developed one 
technique which could be called "appeasement by in- 



vitation." This is the way It worked: a highly-placed 
spokesman would come to see Mr. Grew and inform him 
that the "moderates," with the aid of the Emperor, had 
things pretty well under control All that they needed 
to strengthen their control and keep the militarists from 
assuming power, he would urge, would be some con- 
cessions from the United States. 

One of the best examples of this sleight of hand was 
attempted on October 7, 1932, and is recounted in Mr. 
Grew's diary of that date, Mr. Crew's visitor goes un- 
named in the published diary (his name being replaced 
by dashes) presumably because Mr. Grew still thought 
him worthy of protection in 1944, at the time Ten Years 
in Japan was published. 

Mr. Grew wrote of this unnamed visitor: 

He has had two hours and ten minutes with the Emperor 
in the presence of Count Makino and others. . . . He says 
that the Emperor understands our position perfectly and is 
anxious to stop the anti-American press campaign and the 
chauvinistic war talk. then said that he wished to impress 
on me two points, first that if the Young Marshal, Chang 
Hsueh-liang, will only keep quiet, there will be no question 
of Japanese troops going to Peiping and this all depends 
on Chang's movements; and, second, he expressed the hope 
that after the maneuvers of our Atlantic Fleet in the Pacific 
it will return to the Atlantic next winter, because irs pres- 
ence on the west coast furnished an excuse for much of the 
chauvinistic war talk and military and naval preparations 
here. continually repeated that the domestic political 
situation is now well in hand and that the more chauvinistic 
military people are being compelled to moderate their 
views. . . . 

In other words, all that was necessary to keep Japan 
peaceful was to make it easier for the Japanese militarists 


to make further grabs, when the time was ripe, by with- 
drawing our fleet from the Pacific and suppressing the 
anti-Japanese Young Marshal who had been driven out 
of Manchuria by Japanese troops! 

Ambassador Grew certainly gave a considerable 
amount of credence to the above-quoted informant. 
This is demonstrated by a communication to Secretary 
of State Henry L. Stimson which is quoted in Ten Years 
in Japan, marked "Strictly Confidential" and dated De- 
cember 2, 1932, a little more than two months after the 
above interview. Conditions had changed somewhat, as 
the American election had just taken place and President 
Roosevelt had been elected. This election was greeted 
favorably by the Japanese, because they applauded the 
anticipated retirement of Secretary of State Stimson who 
had made such strenuous efforts to weld world opinion 
against the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. 

In his communication to Secretary Stimson, Ambas- 
sador Grew declared: 

The anti-American press campaign has, for the present, 
practically ceased. I am inclined to think that had some- 
thing to do with this and I dare say that some order to that 
effect may have come from the Emperor himself. . . 

Later in the same message he continues: 

In my cablegram of November 28, I suggested that re- 
straint be exercised in handling the Sino-Japanese dispute, 
because coercive measures would undoubtedly result in 
more firmly welding the Japanese nation together in oppo- 
sition to the League and the United States. Any hint of 
force, either military or economic, I believe, would result 
in the uniting of the nation behind the military and would 
completely overwhelm the more moderate influences which 
are working beneath the surface to restore Japan to its 
former high place in the councils of nations. Moral pres- 

sure, however, I think, can be exerted without this danger 
and might tend to widen the rift now beginning to be 
noticed between the military and moderate elements. Event- 
ually the force of public opinion throughout the world, 
coupled with the difficulty and overburdening expense of 
pacifying Manchuria, might cause Japan to change its at- 
titude toward the problem. . . . 

This "appeasement by invitation," by which the 
United States was induced to refrain from "antagoniz- 
ing" Japan in order to give the "moderates" an oppor- 
tunity to get the militarists under control, was largely 
responsible for the continued shipment of scrap and oil 
to Japan. Mr. Grew has stated that we continued the 
shipments because nonshipment would have been a 
major step toward a war for which the American people 
were ill-prepared. Bur that is only part of the story. We 
were in part accepting the argument of the "moderates" 
that an embargo on such shipments would only 
strengthen the militarists, and thus lead to war. Actually 
the reasoning that an embargo on oil and scrap would 
have been sufficient cause for war was faulty. It is highly 
dubious that such an embargo, with the diplomatic ex- 
planation that the materials were needed in the United 
States, as they subsequently were, could have been a suffi- 
cient excuse for attack. Furthermore, it Is clear that the 
Japanese attack, when it did come, was not due to an 
embargo or any other diplomatic reason, but because the 
development of the war in Europe made it appear feasible 
for the Japanese to attack with a fair chance of success! 


The striking German military successes of 1941, which 
by October brought Nazi armies to the gates of Moscow 


and Stalingrad, created great opportunities for the Japa- 
nese. England, still fearful of a German invasion, could 
spare little strength for the Pacific. France and Holland, 
both of which had rich possessions there, had already 
been overrun by the Nazis. American fleet strength, 
the chief military obstacle to the Japanese march of 
conquest, was divided between the Atlantic and the 

Faced with these rich possibilities, the "moderate" and 
extremist wings of the Japanese ruling group continued 
to battle over the best manner of exploiting them. This 
conflict is very well described in a memorandum pre- 
pared by the State Department in May 1942, entitled: 
"Account of Informal Conversations between the Gov- 
ernment of the United States and the Government of 
Japan, 194L" In describing the struggle between what 
were called moderates and extremists in 1941, the memo- 
randum states that "Japan was . . , faced with a great 
internal struggle in regard to methods for taking advan- 
tage of the opportunities presented some groups were 
Insisting that Japan keep out of the war in Europe and 
gather all possible benefits obtainable by trade and by 
negotiations and threats short of participation in that 
war; other groups were determined to strike with force 
if necessary even at the risk of throwing together the 
war in China and the war in Europe." x 

In other words, the non-extremists were willing to use 
any and all methods short of war with the United States 
and Britain. And their opposition to such a war was 
simply because they were not confident that Japan 
could win. 

The resistance of such "moderates" to the pressure of 

1 Foreign Relation? of the United States, Japan, 1931-1941, Vol. II, 
p. 326. 


the military adventurists was weakened rapidly by the 
desertion of a substantial number who became convinced 
by German victories that the blitzkrieg was, after all, a 
much more effective means of achieving imperialist dom- 
ination than the military and economic infiltration tech- 
nique which Japan was then using. 

The last great effort of the "moderates" to prove that 
they could exploit the opportunities of the moment with- 
out risking war with the United States was Prince 
Konoye's attempt to meet President Roosevelt "some- 
where in the Pacific" to negotiate a solution to Japanese- 
American "differences." President Roosevelt, recognizing 
that the only basis for compromise which could sat- 
isfy Prince Konoye's requirements would be American 
abandonment of the Chungking government and recog- 
nition of Japanese conquests in China, refused to meet 
the Prince. 

Unable to deliver American acceptance of Japanese 
conquests through negotiation, Konoye was compelled 
to resign, on October 16, 1941, to make way for those 
who were willing to risk Japan's greatest military gamble. 

In the previous January, Mr. Grew had informed the 
State Department that there were rumors that a "surprise 
mass attack on Pearl Harbor was planned by the Japa- 
nese military forces, in case of 'trouble* between Japan 
and the United States." 

The decisive test -for the Embassy *wa$ whether it 
would recognize the type of Japanese government likely 
to launch such an attack. 

The appointment of General Hideki To Jo as Premier, 
on October 18, 1941, certainly should have been taken 
as substantial evidence that aggression was in the air 
and was so interpreted by a great number of correspond- 
ents and analysts. To jo was an important member of the 


Kwantung Army clique, the powerhouse of aggression 
in Japanese army politics, having served as the head of 
the dreaded military police of the Kwantung Army and 
later as Chief of Staff of the Kwantung Army. Later, as 
commander of Japan's mechanized forces in China, he 
was very successful in blitzkrieg methods. 

To jo had entered the first Konoye Cabinet as Vice 
Minister of War and was chief of Japan's air force after 
that. He then served as War Minister in Konoye's sec- 
ond and third Cabinets. He had contributed considerably 
to reorganizing the army, strengthening its air force and 
generally streamlining it for offensive war. Clearly To jo 
combined the driving militarism, the military and admin- 
istrative leadership and the political experience required 
of a Premier who was destined to launch the greatest 
military effort in Japanese history. 

When Prince Konoye resigned on October 16 to make 
way for General To jo, he sent Ambassador Grew a per- 
sonal and extremely important letter, which Mr. Grew 
records in Ten Years in Japan. 

16th October 1941 
My Dear Ambassador, 

It is with great regret and disappointment that my col- 
leagues and I have had to resign owing to the internal 
political situation, which I may be able to explain to you 
sometime in the future. 

I feel certain, however, that the cabinet which is to suc- 
ceed mine will exert its utmost in continuing to a successful 
conclusion the conversations which we have been carrying 
an up till today. It is my earnest hope, therefore, that you 
md your Government will not be too disappointed or 
discouraged either by the change of cabinet or by the mere 
ippearance or impression of the new cabinet. I assure you 
:hat I will do all in my power in assisting the new cabinet 


to attain the high purpose which mine has endeavored to 
accomplish so hard without success. 

May I take this opportunity to express my heartfelt grati- 
tude for your most friendly co-operation which I have been 
fortunate to enjoy and also to convey to you my sincere 
wish that you will give the same privilege to whoever 
succeeds me, 

With kindest personal regards, I am 

Sincerely yours, 


This letter may go down as one of the most effective 
smoke screens in diplomatic history, Mr. Grew was un- 
doubtedly influenced by the suave Prince Konoyc's re- 
quest for him not to be "too disappointed or discour- 
aged" by the "mere appearance or impression" of the 
To jo Cabinet. The degree to which the Ambassador was 
misled is revealed by the very significant diary entry of 
October 20, 1941, three days after the Ambassador re- 
ceived the Prince's letter and less than seven weeks be- 
fore Pearl Harbor: 

October 20, 1941 

Since the American press and radio are almost universally 
interpreting the present government as a preliminary move 
leading to an attack on Russia or some other positive action 
which will inevitably bring about hostilities between Japan 
and the United States, I am setting forth certain factors, 
some based on fact and others on valid assumption, which 
indicate that the opinion which appears to have been ac- 
cepted by the American public in regard to the meaning 
of the change of government in Japan may not be an accu- 
rate appraisal of the situation viewed in perspective. 

We are informed by a confidant of Prince Konoye that 
the latter decided to resign and in so doing to ensure that 
the Prime Minister who succeeded him would be an official 


who would attempt to pursue the policy Inaugurated by 
the previous government of reconstructing relations with 
the United States and bringing about a settlement of the 
China affair. . . . 

We think that a reasonable motive for the resignation 
of the previous government was Prince Konoye's belief that 
the conversations with the United States would make more 
rapid progress if our Government were dealing with a 
Prime Minister whose power was based on a commanding 
position in and on support of the Army, which is the con- 
trolling force in matters affecting policy, rather than with 
a go-betw T een. Despite the fact that, as anticipated, the 
Konoye Government was succeeded not by a civilian but 
by a military man, indications of a willingness on the part 
of the Tojo Government to proceed with the conversations 
in the light of the circumstances outlined in the preceding 
paragraph would imply that it is premature to stigmatize 
the Tojo Government as a military dictatorship committed 
to the furtherance of policies which might be expected to 
bring about armed conflict with the United States. 

The remarkable ability of the Japanese to utilize the 
American Embassy's vulnerability concerning the role 
of the Emperor and other "moderates" was demonstrated 
by a visit of still another informant. This visit was the 
perfect companion piece for Prince Konoye's smooth 
letter. The following is Ambassador Grew's diary entry 
for October 25, 1941, almost verbatim the text of a 
memorandum sent to the State Department on the same 

October 25, 1941 

A reliable Japanese informant tells me that just prior to 
the fall of the Konoye cabinet a conference of the leading 
members of the Privy Council and of the Japanese armed 
forces had been summoned by the Emperor, who inquired 


if they were prepared to pursue a policy which would 
guarantee that there would be no war with the United 
States. The representatives of the Army and Navy who 
attended this conference did not reply to the Emperor's 
question, whereupon the latter, with reference to the pro- 
gressive policy pursued by the Emperor Meiji, his grand- 
father, in an unprecedented action ordered the armed forces 
to obey his wishes. The Emperor's definite stand necessi- 
tated the selection of a Prime Minister who would be in a 
position effectively to control the Army, hence the appoint- 
ment of General To jo, who, while remaining in the Army 
active list, is committed to a policy of attempting to con- 
clude successfully the current Japanese-American conver- 

The informant emphasized to me that the recent anti- 
American tone of the Japanese press and the extreme views 
expressed by pro-Axis and certain other elements gave no 
real indication of the desire of Japanese of all classes and 
In particular of the present political leaders that in some 
way or other an adjustment of relations with the United 
States must be brought about. He added in this connection 
that Mr. Togo, the new Foreign Minister, had accepted his 
appointment with the specific aim of endeavoring to pursue 
the current conversations to a successful end and it had 
been understood that should he fail in this he would resign 
his post. 

The belief is current among Japanese leaders that the 
principal difficulty in the way of an understanding with 
the United States is the question of the, removal of Japa- 
nese armed forces from China and Indo-China, but these 
same leaders are confident that, provided Japan is not placed 
in an impossible position by the insistence on the part of 
the United States that all Japanese troops in these areas be 
withdrawn at once, such a removal can and will be success- 
fully effected. 

The informant, who is in contact with the highest circles, 


went on to say that for the first time in ten years the situa- 
tion at present and the existing political setup in Japan offer 
a possibility of a reorientation of Japanese policy and action. 

There are a number of extremely curious aspects to 
this memorandum four, to be precise. 

' The first is the striking parallel between this diary 
entry in October 1941 and the previously quoted entry 
of October 1932. In both cases the Ambassador is in- 
formed that the "moderates" and the Emperor have the 
situation well in hand. All that the United States has to 
do is to accept the conquests of the militarists. 

The second is the "reliability" of the informant. It 
seems difficult to believe that anyone who was sufficiently 
antimilitarist to be reliable to us as an informant could 
risk going to the carefully watched American Embassy in 
October 1941 or even being seen with one of the closely 
followed Embassy secretaries without taking extremely 
great risks. The alternative interpretation is that this in- 
formant (who was still described as "reliable" in a foot- 
note in the State Department volumes published in the 
fall of 1943) was sent with the permission of the military 
and was as much a part of the smoke screen hiding the 
preparations for Pearl Harbor as the trip of Mr. Kurusu. 

The third curious aspect is the statement that the Em- 
peror, "with reference to the progressive policy pursued 
by the Emperor Meiji, his grandfather, in an unprece- 
dented action ordered the armed forces to obey his 
wishes." Just what "progressive policy" was pursued by 
the Emperor Meiji which has any relevance to the main- 
tenance of peace it is difficult to find. Emperor Meiji's 
reign is a long series of wars, climaxed with those against 
China and Russia, with the interim between wars spent 
in preparing for the next one. Why Emperor Hirohito 


should use the war-ridden reign of his grandfather as a 
reason for banning a war is difficult to understand. It is 
still more difficult to understand why the Embassy ac- 
cepted this logic uncritically. 

The fourth curious aspect of this entry (and others on 
the Emperor) is that Mr. Grew apparently never thought 
of asking why the Emperor, if he really was such a 
devotee of peace and did not want to go to war against 
the United States, did not make some attempt, by re- 
script or radio address, to tell the Japanese people that he 
did not want war against the United States. Such a state- 
ment or rescript would have been a considerable stum- 
bling block for the militarists. The fact that the Emperor 
did not make such an attempt would seem to lend weight 
to the theory that the Emperor, like the rest of the 
"moderates," was willing to use the threat of action by 
the military as a weapon to exact concessions from the 
United States. 

Less than seven weeks after Mr. Grew wrote so trust- 
ingly of the Emperor's intentions, not only did the "mod- 
erate" navy launch a crushing blow against Pearl Har- 
bor, but the "moderate" Emperor issued an cxhortivc im- 
perial rescript declaring a holy war against the Allies. 
This rescript was so powerful that the militarist govern- 
ment established a monthly commemoration day on 
which it was reread to the Japanese people and fighting 
forces in all the long and bloody months that followed. 


When Mr. Grew returned from internment on the 
first exchange trip of the Swedish liner Gripsholw in 

August 1942 there were many who were anxious to hear 
his views. The great mass of the American people had 


been shocked and puzzled not only by the perfidy of the 
attack on Pearl Harbor but by the ability of a nation so 
much weaker in economic resources than its opponents 
to strike a stunning series of blows in all corners of the 

Other Americans, with a more specialized interest in 
the Far East, were anxious to know to what extent the 
attack on the United States had altered the State Depart- 
ment views about Japan. 

In the year and a half after his return the ex-Ambas- 
sador's deep, confident voice was heard often over the 
radio, recounting his experiences and warning that the 
Japanese would fight fanatically to the "last cartridge 
and the last soldier." One might wonder that with such 
a firm belief in the fanaticism with which the Japanese 
would pursue a war against the United States, Mr. Grew 
had been so complacent about the possibility of such a 
conflict in October 1941! His stated purpose in these 
talks was to correct "preconceived but unfounded as- 
sumptions as to Japan's comparative weakness and vul- 
nerability in war." 

The depiction of Japanese strength, ability and fanati- 
cism in his first book of speeches, Report from Tokyo, 
was so vivid that, when it was relayed back to Tokyo, 
presumably by way of Lisbon, the Japanese propa- 
gandists quoted excerpts from his speeches with approval, 
in order to impress the Japanese people with their own 
strength. The only part of Mr. Grew's description they 
publicly took exception to was reference to their "fa- 
naticism." They preferred to substitute "patriotism." 

During this period after his return Mr. Grew held the 
title of "Assistant to the Secretary of State." This was 
largely an ornamental title without a responsible position 
attached to it. At last Mr. Grew became restive in Ms 


role of rnorale-toughener and war bond salesman and 
made a slight foray into the field of postwar policy 
toward Japan. 

In a radio broadcast on August 28, 1943, under the 
auspices of the Commission to Study the Organization of 
the Peace, he called for the disarmament of Japan, the 
punishment of its military leaders responsible for aggres- 
sion as well as of those guilty of atrocities, the permanent 
elimination of the cult of militarism and the re-education 
of the Japanese. 

But perhaps the most significant section of the speech 
was the guarded warning: "If an ancient tree is torn up 
by the roots and remodeled, it will not live, but if the 
healthy trunk and roots remain, the branches and foliage 
can, with care, achieve regeneration. Whatever is found 
to be healthy in the Japanese body politic should be pre- 
served; the rotten branches must be ruthlessly cut away." 
This was coupled with another warning: "Only skilled 
hands should be permitted to deal with that eventual 
problem upon the happy solution of which so very much 
in the shaping of our postwar world will depend." 

Mr. Grew and the Japan experts in the State Depart- 
ment were probably emboldened by the fact that this 
speech was calmly received, although the lack of criti- 
cism was probably due in large part to the use of a non- 
committal figure of speech. It was difficult to object to 
"skilled hands" preserving "healthy" portions of the 
Japanese body politic and "ruthlessly" cutting away that 
which was "rotten." The crucial question was just what 
portions of the Japanese body politic were to be con- 
sidered healthy and which rotten. 

Part of the State Department answer was given in 
December 1943 when it issued the two-volume work, 
Foreign Relations of the United States: Japan, 1931- 


1941. Of all the hundreds of documents which were in- 
cluded in their 1700-odd pages the only one which 
the State Department publicized was the above-quoted 
memorandum to the effect that in October 1941 the 
Emperor had forbidden the army and navy to attack the 
United States and Britain! The headlines the next day 
read: "U. S. Discloses that Hirohito Wanted Peace," 
"Hirohito War Ban Revealed by Hull" The implica- 
tions were further developed in a special article in the 
Herald Tribune by Wilfred Fleisher, entitled: "Hirohito 
Plea for '41 Peace May Save Him" and subtitled: "Allies 
May Let Him Remain on Throne." A considerable 
amount of attention was paid to Mr. Fleisher's interpre- 
tation, not only because the State Department itself had 
called attention to this document in releasing the two 
thick volumes, but because Fleisher himself was known 
to be close to a number of the Japan experts in the State 
Department whom he had known in Tokyo, and had on 
previous occasions reflected their views. 

An indication of the concern which this interpretation 
aroused in some circles is the title of a column written for 
PM by L F. Stone: "Is Our State Dept. Building Up 
Hirohito to Use as a Jap Petain?" 


The concern occasioned by this indirect indication 
that the State Department still did not consider Emperor 
Hirohito as having any responsibility for the war was 
dwarfed by the storm of comment over Mr. Grew's 
speech in Chicago on December 29, 1943, at the banquet 
of the Illinois Education Association. 

In the speech he declared: "I am speaking solely for 
myself and . . . although an officer of the government I 


am presuming In no respect to reflect the official views 
of the government." Nevertheless, Mr. Grew had fol- 
lowed the usual practice of circulating the text of his 
speech in the Department, where certain passages prais- 
ing the Emperor were considered damaging enough to 
make it advisable at the last minute to recall the mimeo- 
graphed texts of his speech prepared as press releases. 
These were reissued after some 150 words dealing with 
the Emperor were deleted from page 1 1 of the mimeo- 
graphed text. 

Apparently" this last minute scissor-wielding was not 
vigorous enough, for it left intact two sections which, 
put together, made Mr. Grew a defender of the Japa- 
nese monarchy. At one point he declared: "I knew that 
many of the highest statesmen of Japan, including the 
Emperor himself, were laboring earnestly but futilely 
to control the military in order to avoid war with the 
United States and Britain. . . ." Elsewhere he said: 
"Shintoism involves Emperor-worship * . . and when 
once Japan is under the aegis of a peace-seeking ruler not 
controlled by the military, that phase of Shintoism can 
be an asset, not a liability, in a reconstructed nation." 

Newspapermen, looking for a simple and sensational 
story, put these two ideas together and came to the con- 
clusion that Mr. Grew wanted to use Hirohito after the 
war, and that was the story they sent over the wires* 
That wasn't a complete summary of the entire speech, 
which ran to sixteen pages, single-spaced; but it was the 
most newsworthy conclusion which could be made with- 
out violating the general tenor of the speech. 

The critical response to Mr. Grew's speech was imme- 
diate and widespread. It was remarkable not only for its 
volume but also for the quarters from which it emanated. 

The Chinese government made a pointed but indirect 


criticism of Mr. Grew's approach by giving wide circu- 
lation to an article by Dr. Sun Fo, president of the Legis- 
lative Yuan of the Chinese government, and son of the 
founder of the Chinese Republic, Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Sun 
Fo pointed out that the present-day "divine" position of 
the Japanese Emperor is merely the creation of the mili- 
tary caste to command absolute submission from the 

Dr* Sun therefore concluded: 

To fight this war to a decision means that the common 
victory must be decisive in such a way as to preclude any 
resurrection of a militarist and aggressive Japan. . . . This 
can be done only if a fundamental revolution in the consti- 
tutional make-up of present-day Japan sweeps away the 
military caste and sweeps away also the Emperor and the 
cult of Emperor-worship. ... It is only by this means that 
real democracy can be introduced in Japan and the peace 
of the world safeguarded, . . . The Japanese people, once 
they are rid of their present rulers, will never want to 
undertake another war if they can exercise their will freely. 
But they will not be able to go their way so long as the 
Emperor remains a divine institution and the cult of 
Emperor-worship a state religion. ... Of a democratic- 
republican Japan we need have no fear. On the contrary, 
we shall be ready and willing to re-establish normal rela- 
tions with a new Japan, revolutionized after her defeat, 
whose Government will be democratically constituted and 
responsible to the Japanese people as a whole. 

Of the domestic criticism of Mr. Grew's remarks, the 
most significant was probably that of the New York 
Times, customarily a staunch supporter of the State De- 
partment. In an editorial, the Times took Mr. Grew se- 
verely to task for his suggestion that we "sponsor an 
autocratic theocracy incapable of developing a real de- 


mocracy based on self-government by the people and 
therefore always subject to domination by cliques which 
can dominate the Emperor-" The editorial went on to 
point out that the idea of Japanese racial supremacy, 
which is based on the Emperor-worship cult, "confronts 
us with even more difficult but not less dangerous prob- 
lems than nazism and fascism, which we are pledged to 

As a result of the deluge of criticism evoked by Mr. 
Grew's speech, early in January Secretary of State 
Cordell Hull instructed him not to make any more 
speeches on American postwar policy toward Japan be- 
cause he was associating the Department with the very 
unpopular policy of supporting the Emperor* 

Mr. Hull's reproval had a strange aftermath. In an in- 
terview in the New York Times of February 2, 1944, 
Mr. Grew responded to a question on the Emperor by 
the interviewer, Bertram D. Hulen, by declaring: "I 
wish to state categorically that never, either publicly or 
privately, have I expressed an opinion that Emperor 
Hirohito should be or should not be retained on the 
throne of Japan after the war. Frankly, I do not think 
that any of us are yet in a position to determine what 
shall be or may be the precise political structure in Japan 
after our certain, ultimate victory in the war." 

This statement demonstrated how far Mr. Grew, the 
most vocal of the State Department Japan experts, found 
it necessary to back water in the face of public opinion, 

The wide criticism of his Chicago speech, culminating 
in his being gagged by Secretary Hull, made Mr. Grew's 
future look very bleak in the winter of 1944* 

On January 15, 1944, the State Department announced 
a reorganization, in the course of which an Office of Far 
Eastern Affairs was set up. The position of Director of 


this office was given to Dr. Stanley K. Hornbeck, for 
sixteen years "Political Adviser to the Secretary of State" 
on Far Eastern aff airs. 

When Dr. Hornbeck was given this important ap- 
pointment, although Mr. Grew was his senior in the De- 
partment, it was widely interpreted as being preliminary 
to the shelving of Mr. Grew and a victory for the "China 
crowd" in the State Department. 

For many years the Division of Far Eastern Affairs of 
the State Department had been divided by competition 
between the "China crowd," composed of those officials 
whose Far Eastern diplomatic experience had mainly 
been in China, and the "Japan crowd," comprising those 
whose specialty was Japan. 

This rivalry extended to fields of policy. The China 
hands were more likely to consider China the center of 
the Far Eastern problem and emphasize the necessity for 
developing China and the China trade. The Japan hands, 
on the other side, would point to the substantial volume 
of Japanese- American trade, which they had helped to 
develop, and were apt to sneer at the possibility of China's 
usurping the important place occupied by Japan. 

The victory of Dr. Hornbeck and the "China crowd" 
was to be shortlived, however, because Hornbeck was 
eased out of his job by a fortuitous development: a vir- 
tual revolt of his subordinates. This revolt was a product 
not of Dr. Hornbeck's Far Eastern policies, but of certain 
alleged personal shortcomings. His subordinates wrote a 
strong and detailed memorandum accusing Dr. Horn- 
beck, among other things, of poor judgment, withhold- 
ing from them information necessary to their work, and 
violating the instructions of his superiors. They actually 
declined to accept positions under him. The revolt suc- 
ceeded in displacing him, 

. 65 

On May 1, 1944, ex- Ambassador Grew moved Into the 
spacious office of the Director of the Office of Far 
Eastern Affairs on the third floor of the State Depart- 


When Mr. Grew was appointed Director of the Office 
of Far Eastern Affairs, Wilfred Fleishcr, in a confidential 
memo to Time, wrote that "the American Embassy in 
Japan has moved in to take possession of the Far Eastern 
division of the State Department." 

Indeed, the so-called "Japan crowd" had taken over. 
In addition to Mr. Grew, Joseph W. Ballantine, a former 
Secretary of the American Embassy in Tokyo, was made 
Deputy Director; Erie R. Dickover, a former First Sec- 
retary in Tokyo, was made chief of the Japan section. A 
little later Eugene H. Dooman, who was Counselor of 
the Tokyo Embassy at the outbreak of war, turned up 
as Special Assistant to Mr, Grew and a leading figure on 
the intra-departmental committee on postwar Far East- 
ern policy. 

These appointments were widely interpreted as mean- 
ing a shift in Far Eastern policy. 

Time considered the new leadership of the Office of 
Far Eastern Affairs as "a significant clue to the way the 
Administration is beginning to think about the problem 
of postwar Japan." 

Amerasw, a fortnightly on the Far East with a small 
circulation but wide influence among Far Eastern spe- 
cialists, devoted a whole issue entitled "A New Far 
Eastern Policy ?" to the implications of the new appoint- 
ments. It pointed out that it had been generally assumed 
that China would "automatically emerge as the leading 


power in Eastern Asia" at the end of the war. However, 
the new appointments, according to Amerasia, greatly 
strengthened the position of those in favor of a "politi- 
cally 'reliable' Japan, purged of her militarists, but with 
sufficient economic strength to remain the dominant na- 
tion in the Far East and serve as a 'stabilizing factor' to 
offset any too rapid transformation of the political and 
economic status" of China and the colonial areas of the 
Far East. 

There can be little doubt that the State Department's 
"Japan crowd" tends to emphasize the importance of 
Japan rather than China, and harkens back to a conserva- 
tive Japan rather than a new, democratic Japan purged 
of its militarism, feudalism and the crushing control of 
its economy by the giant financial combines. 

One of the most interesting and important of the 
Japan hands in this regard is Eugene H. Dooman, prob- 
ably the most energetic and best-informed of the "Japan 

There seem to be two widely divergent schools of 
thought on Mr. Dooman. Mr. Grew on the one hand has 
told a number of people that " 'Gene Dooman knows 
more about Japan than any other man in America." 
When Mr. Grew returned to this country on leave in 
May 1939, he left the Tokyo Embassy in the hands of 
Mr. Dooman, declaring that the latter was a man "in 
whose judgment and analytical ability I have full con- 
fidence and whose views on policy and procedure coin- 
cide very closely with mine. . . ." In the foreword to 
his Ten Years in Japan Mr. Grew thanks Mr. Dooman, 
"on whose long experience in Japan, mature advice and 
incisive diagnosis of political developments I counted 
greatly in the formulation through those years of the 
views herein, set forth. . . ." 


On the other hand, Pacificw, an anonymous Far East- 
ern expert of the Nation, showed no confidence In 
Mr. Dooman's ability. He labeled Mr. Dooman a u dan~ 
gerous expert" who "was primarily responsible for 
the execrable mistake in judgment which minimized the 
threat to the United States represented by To jo's ap- 
pointment in October, 1941." 

Both views are probably somewhat prejudiced, 

There can be no doubt that Mr. Dooman has extensive 
knowledge of Japan, the Japanese language and Japa- 
nese ruling groups. He was born in Japan, and in addi- 
tion to spending part of his youth there, sixteen of the 
thirty-three years he has served in the State Department 
were spent in Japan. During this period he worked his 
way up from student interpreter to the rank of Counselor 
of the Embassy, where he served as Mr. Grew's right- 
hand man. 

But there Is also little doubt that the American foreign- 
service official in Japan, even more so than the rest of the 
somewhat isolated foreign community there, tends to 
associate with a very restricted segment of the Japanese 
population: the Foreign Office representatives, members 
of large business concerns with extensive American trade, 
the "pro-American" wing of the court circle and other 
American- and British-educated members of the upper 
middle class. Therefore it is rather natural that a person 
like Mr. Dooman who has lived almost half of his life in 
these circles should share many of the reactions of his 
former associates in Japan.. 

Unfortunately, however, precisely because they have 
been conditioned by these contacts, the Japan hands In 
the State Department tend to favor the retention of 
Japan's Old Gang after defeat. Thus, various members 
of the "Japan crowd" have been known to discredit the 


possibility that any groups other than the Old Gang have 
any capacity for leadership. Mr. Dooman himself, ac- 
cording to Amerasia, believes Prince Konoye a good 
candidate for postwar Premier of Japan! 


Against this background, Mr. Grew's policy state- 
ment at the Senate hearings in December 1944 on his 
nomination as Undersecretary take on a fuller meaning. 

At first glance, Mr. Grew's statement seems a very 
diplomatic and noncommittal one. Further study, how- 
ever, reveals that Mr. Grew took a negative but none- 
theless definite stand which favors the retention of 
Japan's Old Gang. 

Two themes predominate in this statement. The first is 
that we should suspend judgment on Japan's future. We 
must "wait and see" because there are too many "im- 
ponderable factors" and therefore the "problem should 
be left fluid." Mr. Grew declared that he did "not be- 
lieve that the solution of this problem can be intelli- 
gently . . . handled . . . until we get to Tokyo." 

But while Mr. Grew was asking others to suspend 
judgment, his own Office of Far Eastern Affairs was 
going ahead full speed with plans for Japan's future on 
the assumption that they could predict what would 
happen! It is difficult to consider this anything but 
an uncandid attempt to restrict planning of Japan's fu- 
ture to the "skilled hands" of the "Japan crowd." 

The second theme of Mr. Grew's statement was his 
strong emphasis on "order" and "stability." During the 
early period of occupation, he pointed out, we would 
require order to facilitate the tasks of our occupation 
forces and at the end of our occupation we would need 


"stability," even if it meant supporting the Emperor, in 

order to avoid the "burden of maintaining and control- 
ling for an indefinite period a disintegrating community 
of over 70,000,000 people." 

To achieve this perfect "order" and "stability" which 
Mr. Grew so longingly describes, it will be necessary to 
retain almost the entire authoritarian bureaucracy and 
the anti-democratic police as well as the Emperor. 
Once stability and order become our watchwords we 
almost necessarily become the watchdogs of the Old 
Order and the Old Gang. 

No society can purify itself as Japan must with- 
out a certain amount of disorder and instability. Cer- 
tainly the American Revolution was accompanied by 
considerable "disorder" and "anarchy." But is there a 
patriotic American who would suggest that we should 
have traded our democratic liberties for the "stability" 
of colonial servitude? 





Our greatest danger In Japan comes from 
the group which will try most eagerly to please us. 

This group will proclaim themselves authentic mod- 
erates and liberals. They will swear they have never 
liked the militarists and only profited from their war 
with a bleeding heart. They will offer to put their ad- 
ministrative and organizing experience at the disposal of 
the victorious Allies, and thus maintain "order" and 
"stability." They will tell the Allies almost every mili- 
tary, industrial and diplomatic secret they know. They 
will protest their admiration for parliamentary govern- 
ment, and at a nod from the occupying authorities will 
bring back to life the now defunct Japanese political 

These self -proclaimed angels of peace will be the 
front men for the Zaibatsu, which is Japanese for "plu- 
tocracy" or "moneyed group"; it generally refers to the 
Big Four financial combines, Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Sumi- 
tomo and Yasuda, but is also used as it is here- 
to refer to the other large trusts as well. 

These Japanese combines represent a concentration 
of financial and economic power which is unparalleled 
anywhere else in the world. The relative position of 
the Mitsui or Mitsubishi concerns in the life of Japan 
is so important that beside them the role played by or- 
ganizations like du Pont and Standard Oil seems small. 
Even before the war these vast, monopolistic enter- 
prises dominated the financial, industrial and commercial 


life of Japan, The five largest trusts controlled an esti- 
mated 62 per cent of the financial, industrial and com- 
mercial wealth of Japan. In 1937 the Big Four con- 
trolled more than one third of the total deposits in private 
banks, 70 per cent of the deposits in all trust companies 
and one third of total foreign trade. These mammoth 
combines also dominated the strategic sections of in- 
dustry, with controlling amounts of capital invested in 
shipping, shipbuilding, aviation, engineering, mining, 
metal manufacture and others. Because of their inter- 
locking control over banking, industry and commerce, 
the Zaibatsu were able to exercise indirect control over 
many smaller banks, industries and trading enterprises 
in addition to those which they operated directly. And 
because of the financial pressure they were able to exert 
on the government, they were in a position not only 
to Influence the government's industrial policies, but 
also to secure substantial subsidies, fiscal protection and 
profitable war contracts. 

The prewar domination exercised by the Zaibatsu 
over Japan's economy has been greatly extended as a 
result of the war. They received the lion's share of in- 
dustrial and raw material loot from conquered coun- 
tries. They also consolidated their hold within Japan 
because they controlled the Control Associations or 
semiofficial cartels, and while they profited from a 
bonanza of war contracts many small concerns were 
driven out of business in the interest of wartime effi- 

The evidence is almost overwhelming that unless 
something is consciously done to prevent it, postwar 
Japan will be dominated by the interests of these giant 
combines. During the last quarter of a century the 
militarists and the Zaibatsu have been the most dynamic 


and powerful elements in the oligarchy ruling Japan. 
The very elimination or crushing of the militarists by 
defeat and disarmament will leave the Zaibatsu with 
almost a monopoly of power in the ruling class. 

Zaibatsu domination is also made more likely by the 
prevalent assumption that there is a "moderate" anti- 
militarist group in Japanese business and financial circles 
upon which we can depend, and that by offering eco- 
nomic inducements to this group we can persuade them 
to adopt a peaceful and co-operative policy. This argu- 
ment finds a ready audience among prospective Anglo- 
American occupation officials who feel that a postwar 
regime will have to rely on Zaibatsu technical per- 
sonnel to keep Japan from disintegrating into "chaos" 
and "anarchy." The Zaibatsu "moderates" are also 
eagerly defended in certain Anglo-American financial 
and commercial circles that enjoyed profitable prewar 
relations with the Japanese trusts, and are easily per- 
suaded that it would be difficult and unnecessary to 
alter the basic structure of the Japanese economy. 

Another fact aiding the Zaibatsu is the fact that plans 
for the future of Japan which have emanated from 
official and semiofficial sources appear to be almost 
exclusively concerned with how to render Japan in- 
capable of aggression by stripping her of her colonies and 
armed forces, supervising her industries and the like. 
Comparatively little attention has been paid to the even 
more important problem of the reorientation of the 
Japanese economy with a view toward encouraging the 
development of an economically trustworthy Japan that 
will not wish to solve its problems by military aggres- 
sion. There has been very little recognition of the fact 
that Japanese militarism, like German Nazism, is an 
organic disease with roots in Japan's past inability to 


find a peaceful solution to Its economic problems. 

Since it seems likely that we shall have a Zaibatsu- 
dominated Japan unless something is consciously done 
to prevent it, it is important to see what this would 
mean in terms of the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. 
Will a Zaibatsu Japan be a trustworthy Japan? Would 
it be consistent with the United Nations' abiding de- 
sire for an enduring peace? 

This problem must be examined in terms of the aims 
and interests of the Zaibatsu as a group. For though there 
are unquestionably individual representatives of these 
giant combines who are sincerely peaceful and liberal 
in their outlook, a policy cannot be based on the views 
of individuals, particularly in a country like Japan, 
where family and group loyalties are very strong. It 
must take Into consideration the fundamental factors 
that have determined the development of the Zaibatsu 
In modern Japan, and that have a bearing on the prob- 
able aims of a Zaibatsu-coMrolled Japan in the post- 
war world. 


Many Americans, anxious to find some group on 
whom we can lean for support while building a better 
Japan, are not inclined to be too critical of the Zai- 
batsu. Their outlook has doubtless been conditioned by 
the knowledge that the United States has developed a 
great democracy and the highest living standards in the 
world In an era In which American trusts and Industrial 
combines have played a very important role in the 
political and economic life of the country. It is dan- 
gerous, however, to generalize from the experience of 
the United States; because Japan and the United States 


represent the opposite extremes of modern economic de- 
velopment. Japanese industry has developed on the 
basis of an extremely limited internal market, while 
American capitalism has been conditioned by the ex- 
istence of a very great domestic market for consumer 
goods as well as for industrial and farm machinery. 

The limitations of Japan's internal market are due 
largely to the peculiarities of the modernization of Japan 
during the Meiji era (1868-1912). The Meiji Restora- 
tion of 1868 was led by an aspiring wing of the feudal 
militarist aristocracy with the backing of the budding 
business and financial interests of Kyoto and Osaka. The 
leading role was necessarily played by the feudal lords, 
because of the comparative weakness of the merchants 
and bankers, who had been shut off from foreign trade 
by the isolationist policies of the regime which preceded 
the Meiji Restoration. As a result of this weakness, 
Japan's transition to a modern capitalist economy did 
not involve an uprooting of Japan's feudal agricultural 
system comparable to that which ensued in England and 
France during the growth of capitalism in those countries. 

Under the terms of the Meiji land settlement, the serfs 
of feudal Japan were converted into independent farmers. 
But the continuation of feudal levels of rent involving 
50-60 per cent of the crop usurious interest rates, and 
a land tax in money whose whole weight fell on the 
peasantry, caused many to lose their land and sharply 
limited the peasants' power to purchase consumer goods, 
farm machinery, and other products of Japan's new in- 
dustries. Since they were unable to develop a profitable 
market among the peasants, Japan's industrialists were 
almost immediately compelled to seek markets abroad. 

The low level of agricultural income and the existence 
of a large agricultural population that could not find 


employment on the land provided a source of cheap 
Industrial labor that was of great advantage in many 
cases where Japanese industry was not as highly mechan- 
ized as its major competitors in world markets. 

Thus, the inadequacy of the Internal market provided 
the shotgun which wedded the Zaibatsu to militarism. 
The inability of Japan's low-paid peasants and industrial 
workers to provide a stable and expanding internal 
market compelled Japan's industrialists and bankers to 
Indulge In aggressive trade expansion that came to be 
linked inevitably with the militarists' drive for territorial 
conquest by force of arms. 

In addition to the profits reaped from the acquisition 
of colonies, there has been another reason for a com- 
munity of interest between the Zaibatsu and militarism. 
Industry has developed on a basis of intensive exploita- 
tion of labor, which has resulted in widespread discon- 
tent and movements of protest on the part of the Japa- 
nese people. Thus the Zaibatsu has needed the military 
to maintain "order" at home, as well as to open up new 
opportunities for Japanese business abroad. 


For three quarters of a century the Zaibatsu has been 
an indispensable partner of militarism In Japan's unend- 
ing series of aggressions. As a consequence, war and 
preparation for war have exercised an unprecedented 
influence on Japan's Industrial development. 

Modern industry in Japan received Its first great 
impetus from the determined efforts of the Melji gov- 
ernment to develop strategic industries as a base for a 
modern army and navy. Because of the comparative 
weakness of Japanese capitalism and Its reluctance to 


invest in new and uncertain enterprises, the Meiji policy 
was to establish strategic industries under government 
control, develop them to a high level of technical effi- 
ciency and then sell a large proportion of them at very 
low prices to a handful of trusted financial oligarchs. 
This was the origin of the modern Zaibatsu. And even 
after the sale of these enterprises, the State continued to 
encourage the Zaibatsu-owntd strategic industries with 
generous subsidies. 

The next impetus to Japanese heavy industry was the 
Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895. The manufacture of 
war materials, the Chinese indemnity of 350,000,000 yen 
which was invested in war industries, and the opening 
of new Chinese markets all served to stimulate the 
accumulation of capital and the industrial development 
of Japan. The Russo-Japanese War provided a third 
impetus, and the Russian war indemnity of 200,000,000 
yen also went into industry in the form of government 

The Zaibatsu grew tremendously strong as a result 
of the first World War. Japan was second only to the 
United States as a supplier of the Allies and enjoyed 
an even greater proportionate increase in foreign trade. 
Much of this capital was accumulated as a result of 
shameless war profiteering at the expense of Japan's 

One of the most amazing stories about the ill-gotten 
gains of this period concerns Mr. Fusanosuke Kuhara, 
a most enterprising businessman. As owner of a ship- 
yard, the Nippon Steamship Company, he took an order 
in 1917 for four ships from the British government, for 
which he received nearly 2,000,000 yen in advance and 
facilities for importing steel, which was then almost un- 
available, from the United States. The ships were to be 


delivered late in 1917, but were not ready, and there- 
fore the time was extended. On November 11, 1918, 
they were still undelivered, so the agents for the British 
government canceled the contract and demanded the 
2,000,000 yen back. Kuhara refused on the ground that 
as no limit had been placed on the extension of time the 
contract was interminable. Actually the keels had never 
been laid. Having lost his case in every court to which 
he could appeal, Kuhara promised to pay by installments 
on condition that no bankruptcy proceedings should be 


(In 1927 General Baron Tanaka, the Premier, with 
whom he was on very friendly terms, wanted to make 
Kuhara Foreign Minister, when a newspaper disclosed 
the fact that none of the installments had been paid and 
the British Ambassador informed Baron Tanaka that it 
would be embarrassing to deal with a Foreign Minister 
who owed his government money. So Kuhara had to be 
content with the Ministry of Communications, for which 
the little affair was not considered a disqualification.) 

Thanks to Japan's vast war profits and small war 
expenditures, the Zathatm were able to expand their 
operations in every field of industry, finance and trade, 
export large sums of capital and accumulate a consider- 
able amount of foreign currency. The capital invested 
in the Japanese national economy increased sevenfold 
during the war period. During the war years and the 
postwar crisis the Zaibatsu financial and industrial inter- 
ests were able to gobble up many smaller concerns, thus 
strengthening their monopolistic hold on the economy. 
Between 1913 and 1919, the number of banks decreased 
from 1614 to 1344, while their paid-up capital increased 
from 390,000,000 yen to 707,000,000 yen. By 1923, 
37.8 per cent of the total resources of Japanese banks 


consisted of stocks and shares, demonstrating their deep 
penetration Into the sphere of production. 


As a result of the tremendous accretion of economic 
power which came with the last war, the political posi- 
tion of the Zaibatsu within the Japanese oligarchy was 
greatly strengthened In the 1920's. At the same time 
Japan had its brief flowering of parliamentary govern- 
ment, and there was a conflict between the advocates 
of a "positive" policy of aggression on the Asiatic con- 
tinent and those favoring a more "conciliatory" policy of 
economic penetration, preferably without the use of 
armed force. On the basis of a misinterpretation of these 
facts, some American and British commentators have 
put together an oversimplified picture of the Zaibatsu 
as the defenders of democracy and the proponents of 
peace. It Is important to analyze this still-prevalent fic- 
tion, because many of those planning Japan's future in 
Washington and London look back to the 'twenties in 
Japan as the "Liberal Decade" which we must seek to 

The postwar increase in Zaibatsu political influence 
is best indicated by the Kato government of 1924-1925, 
known in Japan as the "Mitsubishi Gang." Both Premier 
Kato and Baron Shidehara, the Foreign Minister, were 
related by marriage to the Iwasaki family which con- 
trolled the Mitsubishi interests. Two other members of 
the Kato government were directly associated with 
Mitsubishi, while the remainder of the Cabinet was 
indirectly linked with financial and industrial circles 
related to that firm. The growing influence of industrial 


and financial interests also penetrated the higher ranks 
of the bureaucracy". Previously such institutions as the 
Imperial Household Ministry, the Elder Statesmen, and 
the House of Peers had been the exclusive preserve of 
the military nobility. Now, however, the influence of 
Big Business was felt in all these spheres. It made possible 
the formation of a pro-Mitsubishi clique in the imperial 
palace, including Count Makino, Lord Privy Seal, and 
Baron Ikki, Minister of the Imperial Household. Prince 
Saionji, last of the Elder Statesmen, was also sympathetic 
to the business interests because he was related to the 
founder of the Sumitomo concern and the uncle of its 
then owner. 

Actually the Emperor himself could be designated as 
a member of the Zaibatsu, since he had come into pos- 
session of about a half-billion yen in stocks and bonds 
or almost as much as the fabulous Zaibatsu families, 
He controlled 140,000 of 300,000 shares of the Bank of 
Japan, with the next largest block being 6000 shares, 
He also had effective control through 22 per cent of the 
stock of the Yokohama Specie Bank, the bank control- 
ling foreign financing. And he shared control of the 
N. Y. K. shipping lines with the Mitsubishi interests. 

The Zaibatsu had not only the power but also the 
opportunity for its maintenance and improvement. The 
whole structure of the Japanese autocracy had been 
shaken by the Rice Riots of 1918, which aroused millions 
and forced the resignation of the military aristocratic 
government of Premier Marshal TerauchL This power- 
ful ferment could have been harnessed to a reform 
movement to clear out the feudal, militarist elements of 
the Japanese social and political structure and institute 
a modern democracy, for such were the popular demands 
of the postwar period. 


Instead, the Zaibatsu dissipated this democratic up- 
surge and perverted it to its own ends by siphoning off 
the discontent into a carefully controlled parliamentary 
system. Parliamentary government was considered "safe" 
by the Zaibatsu, not only because the imperial constitu- 
tion guarded against real popular control of the govern- 
ment but also because the Zaibatsu literally owned the 
two major political parties: the Seiyukai was the property 
of the Mitsui, and the Mitsubishi controlled the Minseito. 

This control was maintained by vast slush funds. The 
members of the Diet received tremendous campaign 
funds from the Zaibatsu for bribing the voters and thus 
securing their seats. And bribery was used within the 
Diet to gain additional votes on specific issues, as well 
as to bring about party switches. In June 1927, the 
Seiyukai obtained the adherence of twenty-two Diet 
members at the cost of 5000 yen per head. This money 
was paid by the Mitsui trust to keep control of the Diet. 

Those who were not satisfied with the Zaibatsu- 
controlled political parties were severely "discouraged" 
from seeking to carry out democratic or social reforms. 
Those who wanted only moderate social and economic 
reforms were harassed by police surveillance, censorship 
and the like. Those groups who advocated basic changes 
in the Japanese structure were ruthlessly suppressed. 
During 1923 and 1924, a group of industrialists led by 
Marquis Ito, the electric power tycoon, and Sanji Muto, 
the textile king, offered the police a reward of 250,000 
yen to stamp out the proletarian movement. When uni- 
versal male suffrage was finally granted in 1925, the 
Peace Preservation Act, sometimes referred to as the 
"Law Against Dangerous Thoughts," was passed almost 
simultaneously. This law granted the police complete 
freedom of action to arrest those who discussed or 


desired changes in the "national structure" and was 

designed to halt the activities of all radical organizations 

and to neutralize any influence they might exert on the 
elections, which were now open to 13,000,000 instead of 
2,800,000 voters. And in 1928, by an imperial ordinance 
signed by Emperor Hirohito, "dangerous thoughts" be- 
came punishable by death. Under this law more than 
10,000 people were arrested in the period from 1928 
to 1931. 


The Zaibatsu was just about as "peaceful" in its for- 
eign policy as it was "democratic" in its internal policy 
in the 'twenties. 

It is true that the Zaibatsu firms were deeply involved 
in the division over foreign policy. But tbcy <wcre 
involved on both sides. The organizing centers of the 
two differing trends in foreign policy were the twin 
giants of the Japanese economy, the Mitsui and Mitsu- 
bishi trusts. The House of Mitsui not only controlled 
the Seiytikai Party but also had close connections with 
the Choshu clan which dominated the army until fairly 
recently. This Mitsui-SefywA^f-army alignment favored 
an aggressive foreign policy and one directed particu- 
larly against China and Russia. Its chief protagonist was 
General Baron Tanaka, Premier from 1927 to 1929, 
author of the notorious Tanaka Memorial. 

The Mitsubishi combine, which controlled the Min~ 
seito Party, was closely connected with the Satsuma 
clan and with the navy, in which the Satsumas had long 
been influential* The Mitsubi$hi~Min$cito~n%vy align- 


ment was further strengthened by the fact that Mitsu- 
bishi owned the N. Y. K. lines and various shipyards that 
built not only merchant but naval vessels. During the 
'twenties, Mitsubishi was deeply interested in foreign 
trade and considered the Tanaka policy of armed ag- 
gression toward China as unnecessary for the achieve- 
ment of Japanese economic domination over East Asia. 
Previous acts of aggression had cost them dearly in 
Chinese boycotts of their goods. 

The chief protagonist of the Mitsubishi-Minseito pol- 
icy of economic penetration by all means short of war 
if possible, was Baron Kijuro Shidehara Japan's Min- 
ister of Foreign Affairs in six of the seven governments 
that held office between June 1924 and December 193 L 
He became so closely associated with the more mod- 
erate policy of penetration that it is frequently called 
the "Shidehara policy," and he is often held up as evi- 
dence that a genuinely liberal section in Japan's civilian 
ruling class exists. 

However, it soon became clear that Shidehara was 
only a useful tool for a powerful section of the Zaibatsu 
that for the moment favored a policy of "peaceful" eco- 
nomic penetration. During the 'thirties, support for this 
policy diminished rapidly and Shidehara ceased to be a 
political influence. This was partly the result of pres- 
sure from the militarists. But militarism was not the only 
influence on the predominantly civilian governments 
that led Japan into an ever-expanding program of ag- 
gression against China and Indo-China and the foreign 
interests in those areas. Economic factors also played an 
important part in altering the attitude of former advo- 
cates of a "moderate" policy. Between 1929 and 1931, 
Japan's foreign trade was reduced by nearly half, and 


the economic crisis that gripped Japan in 1931 was ac- 
centuated by the conservative deflationary policy of the 
Minseito government. 

As a result, protected colonial markets conquered and 
sealed off by the military "extremists" appeared increas- 
ingly desirable, even to the "moderate" Japanese busi- 
ness and financial interests. 

Mr. Ginjiro Fujiwara, then head of the Mitsui paper 
monopoly, the Oji Paper Company, spoke for ever 
wider sections of the Zaibatsu when he declared in his 
Spirit of Japanese Industry (p. 1 34) : 

Diplomacy without force is of no value. No matter how 
diligent the Japanese may be, no matter how superior their 
technical development or industrial administration may be, 
there will be no hope for Japan's trade expansion if there 
is no adequate force to back it. Now the greatest of forces 
is military preparedness founded on the Army and Navy. 
We can safely expand abroad and engage In various enter- 
prises, if we are confident of protection. In this sense, any 
outlay for armament is a form of investment. 

An important, though indirect, influence was also ex- 
erted on the "moderate" sections of the Zaibatsu by the 
larger and larger war budgets sponsored by the army and 
navy authorities. Mounting military and naval expendi- 
tures were primarily responsible for the shift from light 
to heavy industry that occurred throughout the 'thirties 
and resulted in a substantial increase in the production 
of munitions and the accelerated growth of the aircraft 
and automotive (tank) industries which had been the 
most backward feature of the Japanese war economy. 

This influence has been particularly important in con- 
verting Mitsubishi to wholehearted support of military 
aggression, The two industries receiving the greatest 


impetus from war and preparation for war are aviation 
and shipbuilding, both naval and merchant. Mitsubishi 
is the largest firm in the shipbuilding industry and (with 
Nakajima) one of the two largest in aviation. 

The shipbuilding Industry was particularly badly hit 
by the depression of 1930-1933, and the preparations 
for armed aggression came to its rescue. Almost 3,000,- 
000,000 yen were allotted in four naval programs begin- 
ning in 1931, and three quarters of that went to private 
companies. Large subsidies were granted to insure the 
development of a large, speedy merchant marine. The 
declared capital of the seven largest shipbuilding com- 
panies more than doubled between the outbreak of the 
China War in 1937 and the outbreak of the Pacific War 
in 1941. Mitsubishi shipbuilding itself had a declared 
capital of 120,000,000 yen in 1937; by 1941 it had 
240,000,000 yen. By 1945 it reached 1,000,000,000 yen. 

Mitsubishi profited to an even greater degree from the 
expansion of the aviation industry due to the war in 
China and preparations for the Pacific war. The paid-up 
capital of Mitsubishi's aircraft subsidiary increased from 
10,000,000 yen in 1937 to about 60,000,000 yen in 1943. 

At the same time that large war contracts gave the 
older members of the Zaibatsu an important stake in 
the "positive" policy of continental expansion, there 
emerged a new group of entrepreneurs closely asso- 
ciated with the army. These were the Shin Zaibatsu or 
"New Zaibatsu" and the most prominent member of 
this group is the Nissan firm controlled until recently 
by Mr. Gisuke Aikawa, brother-in-law of Kuhara. 
The emergence of these army-allied concerns was a 
potent reminder to the older members of the Zaibatsu 
that if they did not want to play ball in this very profit- 
able game there were others who would, 


The warning seemed hardly necessary, for the Zai- 
batsu not only collaborated in the productive field but 
worked closely with the Japanese army and navy in 
espionage throughout the world. The foreign offices of 
Mitsubishi and Mitsui were an important part of the 
network of Japanese espionage organizations abroad, 
harboring undercover agents and serving as a postal sys- 
tem for relaying information back to Japan. Through 
their commercial and cartel relations with American 
firms, they were able to secure valuable information. 
Just six months prior to their attack, the Japanese mili- 
tary forces were able to learn through Mitsubishi how 
much oil and gasoline were being shipped to Pearl 

These developments in the 'thirties, and particularly 
after the outbreak of the war in China, helped to weld 
the Zaibatsu and the militarists into an indissoluble bloc 
committed to Japan's war of aggression. This did not 
completely eliminate differences either within the Zai~ 
batsu or between the Zaibatsu and the army. But these 
differences became increasingly minor: tactical dif- 
ferences with regard to timing, direction and division 
of spoils, with general agreement on the main objective 
Japanese military domination of East Asia, It should be 
remembered that it was a civilian Cabinet, under Prince 
Konoyc, that embarked on the decisive China- Incident 
in July 1937, and that no significant section of the 
Zaibatsu opposed it. 


The most extravagant hopes of the Zaibatm were 
'fulfilled in the early stages of the Pacific war. Not only 
were they able to wallow in the bonanza of war con- 


tracts and consolidate their hold on the prewar sectors 
of the Japanese economy, but they also gained tremen- 
dous additional strength by reaping the bulk of the 
profits from the rich territories conquered. 

The whole system of administration and economic ex- 
ploitation in the conquered areas was built up on the 
basis of concessions parceled out to various Japanese con- 
cerns. Mitsubishi was given jurisdiction over the Laokay 
phosphate deposits in Indo-China; in Singapore, trans- 
shipping is controlled, under general army supervision, 
by the Mitsubishi Warehouse Company, while the ship- 
building facilities are under the control of another branch 
of the Mitsubishi industrial octopus. Mitsui Mining re- 
ceived the Lepanto copper mines and other mineral re- 
sources in the Philippines; the shipbuilding branch of the 
House of Mitsui took over the facilities at Hong Kong. 
And in addition to giving the Zaibatsu the lion's share 
of the great resources captured in 1941-1942, Tojo also 
allowed Sumitomo, Mitsui and Mitsubishi to participate 
in the exploitation of Manchuria, from which the army 
had previously banned them. 

At the same time the Zaibatsu won greatly increased 
power over the economy of Japan. The Tojo govern- 
ment gave a tremendous impetus to the growth of mo- 
nopolies, both by restrictive measures against small busi- 
ness and by inducements to mergers. Small concerns 
were driven out of business by their inability to secure 
raw materials, credits and manpower in competition with 
the giant trusts. The Zaibatsu bought up these bankrupt 
firms at rock-bottom prices. At the beginning of the 
war, the trusts paid for their purchases in cash, but the 
huge amounts changing hands soon began to threaten 
the country with inflation. It was then that the militarist- 
dominated government made its greatest gift to the 


Zaibatsu. Under the "Law Regulating the Application 
of Capital," passed by the Eighty-third Diet (October 
1943), sellers of factories were compelled to accept pay- 
ment not in money but in shares of the buyer concern. 
Furthermore, owners of inactive factories were com- 
pelled to sell whether they wished to or not. A second 
measure, "The Adjustment of Enterprises Law," gave 
the government the right to take over all such factories 
and distribute their plants to war industries* 

One of the obvious results of such actions was a tre- 
mendous increase in the number of mergers. In 1940, 
216 companies valued at 3,650,000,000 yen merged or 
were reorganized. By 1943 the figure had doubled, with 
570 companies, totaling 7,500,000,000 yen, affected. 
Mitsubishi and other aviation companies engulfed dozens 
of textile companies which were converted to the pro- 
duction of airplane parts. 

One of the most significant developments in the direc- 
tion of monopoly control of the economy was an ex- 
tensive series of mergers involving the great banks. On 
April 1, 1944, the Teikolcu Bank was established as a 
result of the merger of the Mitsui Bank Ltd. and the 
Dai Ichi Bank. On April 13, 1944, the Finance Ministry 
approved the Teikolcu Banks' absorption of the Jugo 
Bank (popularly known as the Peer's Bank because of its 
aristocratic clientele). The total deposits of this new 
bank amounted to 6,400,000,000 yen, making it the larg- 
est in the Empire. A similar series of mergers was ar- 
ranged for the Yasuda Bank, enabling it to absorb the 
Nippon Chuya Bank, the Showa and the Dai San Banks. 
After the completion of all arrangements for these com- 
mercial banks in August 1944, there remained only a few 
banks in the Commercial Banks Control Association: 
the Mitsui-controlled Teikoku; Mitsubishi; Sumitomo; 

Yasuda; Sanwa; Nomura and TokaL And in March 1945 
nine of the largest savings banks in Japan five in 
Tokyo, three in Osaka and one in Nagoya were 
merged into one central bank with total deposits of 
8,500,000,000 yen. 

The swallowing up of small industries by the Zaibatsu 
reached such a pass that on September 7, 1944, Viscount 
Masatoshi Okawachi, speaking in the extremely con- 
servative House of Peers, pleaded with Premier Koiso 
to "maintain medium and small industries." Koiso re- 
plied that he would give this question "due considera- 


As a result of its potent prewar power and wartime 
expansion the Zaibatsu was able not only to preserve 
but actually to strengthen its important place in the 
oligarchy ruling Japan. 

Contrary to the views of most Western commentators, 
Japan went to war under conditions highly favorable to 
Big Business. When To jo assumed office on October 18, 
1941, preparatory to the attack on Pearl Harbor, he 
inherited, without protest, the much-propagandized 
"New Economic Structure" which had just been put 
into operation. This program was devised primarily 
by Japan's dominant economic interests. It combined 
the main points of two alternative schemes submitted 
by the Japanese Economic Federation and the Japan 
Chamber of Commerce and Industry, both Zaibatsu 
organizations. It provided for the mobilization and con- 
trol of war industries through a series of super-trusts or 
Control Associations. Theoretically, a Control Asso- 
ciation was a public organ embracing an entire indus- 


try and responsible to the Ministry of Commerce and 
Industry. Actually It was made up of the leading firms 
in its particular field and given tremendous power over 
the industry concerned. This power was vested in the 
president of each association, and in practice the presi- 
dent of the leading trust in each industry became the 
president of the corresponding Control Association. 
Thus the Iron and Steel Control Association was only 
a slightly altered version of the Iron and Steel Manu- 
facturers' Federation, with the same President, Ilachisa- 
buro Hirao, who was a Mitsubishi official. The Federa- 
tion of Coal A4ine Owners was transformed into the 
Coal Control Association under President Kenjiro Mat- 
surnoto, a Mitsui Trust Company director. The great 
majority of these Control Associations were established 
during the early months of the Tojo Cabinet. 

The Zaibatsu was able to preserve this privileged 
position virtually unimpaired despite the deterioration 
of the Japanese military situation and the consequent in- 
crease in the demands of military production. While the 
Zaibatsu enthusiastically supported the war and all the 
rich conquests it involved, it was thoroughly unwilling 
to permit military "interference" with the way it ran 
industry and made profits. 

By the fall of 1942, however, the Zaibatsu's "profits 
as usual" policy came into conflict with the effective 
administration of a wartime economy. The Control As- 
sociations were still private organizations, over which 
the Cabinet could exert little direct control, and the 
large degree of autonomy which they retained, includ- 
ing power over the procurement of materials, funds and 
labor, prevented the enforcement of any general sys- 
tem of priorities. The inefficiency of this set-up did not 
become apparent during the first months of the 


because Japan's military and naval forces were operat- 
ing largely on stocks of munitions and surplus shipping 
tonnage accumulated before the war and were adding 
to their resources by their early victories. But these first 
bright prospects were somewhat dimmed by the autumn 
of 1942 as a consequence of Allied operations in the 
Solomons, the toll of merchant shipping taken by Allied 
submarines and the smashing defeat suffered by the 
Japanese at Midway. Clearly more ships, planes and mu- 
nitions were needed, and during 1943 three different 
sessions of the Diet sought to deal with the problem of 
stimulating war production and bringing it under more 
effective government control. 

The regular Diet session which convened late in Jan- 
uary, 1943, set apart five industries (iron and steel, coal, 
light metals, shipping and aircraft) as essential to the 
prosecution of the war, and vested supreme powers for 
their administration in Premier To jo. 

But though To jo had evidently won his main point, he 
was forced to accept an extraordinary compromise with 
the Zaibatsu by which seven leading industrial and finan- 
cial magnates were attached to the Cabinet as an Ad- 
visers' Council. According to official regulations these 
men were to hold a rank equivalent to Ministers of State 
and were empowered to "participate in the Premier's 
conduct of administrative affairs with regard to expan- 
sion of wartime production and execution of the war- 
time economy of the nation." 

Another, more drastic attack on the disunity that still 
characterized Japan's system of wartime economic ad- 
ministration was made in the Special Diet Session at the 
end of October, 1943. The main feature of the new ad- 
ministrative system this Diet set up was the centraliza- 
tion of industrial production in a Ministry of Munitions. 


Headed by Tojo himself, this Ministry became the chief 
organ of administration for the production of essential 
war materials. This appeared to be a victory of the mili- 
tary over the "profits as usual" Zaibatsu. A closer ex- 
amination reveals that this was far from the truth.^ 

Although Tojo was made Minister of Munitions, 
Shinsuke Kishi, who was made Vice-Minister of Muni- 
tions and actually handled the executive affairs of the 
Munitions Ministry, had consistently defended the Zai- 
to,ra-dominated Control Associations at the Diet Ses- 
sion in October 1943. 

The Zaibatsu won another victory in November 1943, 
when a number of representatives of Big Business were 
brought into the Cabinet. The most important of these 
was Ginjiro Fujiwara, veteran industrialist closely asso- 
ciated with Mitsui, who was made Minister without Port- 
folio. A blast of press and radio publicity on this appoint- 
ment stressed the fact that Fujiwara's appointment meant 
a closer welding of militarist and financial circles. A 
Yomiuri editorial declared that while at the start the 
Tojo government had been a "militarily bureaucratic 
Cabinet" it had gradually changed its character, but that 
until the appointment of Fujiwara "there was no one 
in the Cabinet representing civilian industrial circles, and 
contact with financial circles was only through advisers/' 

One of the most dramatic by-products of this Zaibatsu 
encroachment was a miniature revolt on the part of 
some of To jo's "radical fascist" supporters and the sui- 
cide of the fanatical Seigo Nakano. Nakano was a fire- 
brand ultranationalist of the most extreme type. Fie had 
been the head of the extremist organization Tohokai, a 
center of political terrorism. He combined this ultra- 
nationalism with opposition to the Zaibatsu and urged 
the nationalization of all industry, much like the "left 


Nazis" of the Roehm type purged by Hitler In 1934. 
The radical fascism of Nakano and his associates had 
been very alarming to the Zaibatsu and they had made 
every attempt to keep him out of any place of authority. 
In the Diet elections of April 1942 they were able to 
prevent him from receiving the support of the Imperial 
Rule Assistance Political Society when he ran for the 
Diet. Nevertheless Nakano was elected by a large ma- 

He apparently continued to fight inside the Diet, be- 
cause, on June 21, 1943, a Domei dispatch to Asia re- 
ported that many members of the I.R.A.P.S. had de- 
manded his expulsion as a result of a speech in the Diet 
during the emergency session of June 1943. When 
Nakano committed suicide on October 26, 1943, it was 
generally interpreted as a protest against the Zaibatsu's 
increasing strength in the To jo government. 


In the light of the increasing success of the Zaibatsds 
bid for supreme power, the replacement of General Tojo 
by Premier Koiso in July 1944 assumes a greater sig- 
nificance than Is usually attributed to it. There can be 
little doubt that the fall of Saipan and the first signif- 
icant B-29 blows on the home soil were the immediate 
causes of Tojo's fall, but he probably could have sur- 
vived had his political foundation been broader. 

The Cabinet headed by General Kuniaki Koiso crys- 
tallized the political shift of power that had been going 
on during the previous year. The new Premier was an 
early army "radical" who had made his peace with the 
business Interests. Admiral Mitsumasa Yonai, the Navy 
Minister, who was ranked as Deputy Prime Minister, 


had never been an enemy of the Zaibatsu. Perhaps the 
most important appointment in the Cabinet was that of 
the Mitsui industrialist Ginjiro Fujiwara to the portfolio 
of Munitions Minister - a position that had been created 
by Tojo for himself, as a means of obtaining supreme 
control over the Japanese economy. 

Fujiwara gave evidence of the increased confidence of 
the Zaibatsu by immediately moving to take production 
control out of the hands of the army and navy and to 
unify it completely in his own hands. In his first press 
conference, held on July 29, 1944, he pointed out that 
he could not unify the war economy because the Army 
Ordnance Headquarters controlled the production of 
land weapons and the production of ships was under the 
jurisdiction of the Naval Construction Headquarters. 
He advocated the combining of these two bodies under 
the Munitions Ministry. Fujiwara's determined attempts 
to secure full control of the Japanese economy aroused 
violent opposition in the army and navy. He had ap- 
parently overplayed his hand; on December 16, 1944, 
Premier Koiso accepted his resignation because of "ill 
health." But this tactical retreat did not keep him down 
long. On February 15, 1945, he was appointed a Cabinet 
Adviser and assigned the important job of breaking the 
bottlenecks in the production of iron and steel. 

Fujiwara's temporary setback did not in any sense 
indicate a weakening of Zaibatsu influence in the reeling 
Koiso government. On the contrary, subsequent poli- 
cies and appointments attested to their entrenched po- 
sition. One of the important Koiso appointments in Feb- 
ruary was that of Juichi Tsushima to the post of Finance 
Minister. Mr. Tsushima had close connections with 
Seihin Ikeda, former head of Mitsui, and extensive con- 
nections in financial circles abroad; one of the main 


points he stressed in his maiden speech on February 21 
was the necessity for the firm maintenance of economic 
"order and stability." In March 1945, the Zaibatsu per- 
suaded the Cabinet to "nationalize" important industries 
in order to have the nation bear the cost of repairs to 
bomb-shattered plants and lay the basis for a claim 
against the government in the event that the plants were 
completely destroyed. 

By this point the Zaibatsu could see the handwriting 
on the wall and was seeking a method of getting out 
from under. 


When the American invasion of Okinawa precipitated 
the resignation of Premier Koiso in April 1945, his suc- 
cessor, Admiral Baron Kantaro Suzuki, organized a Cab- 
inet which represented a further and greater step toward 
the solid, "respectable" and "moderate" circles of Japan's 
ruling group. 

The appointments to the Suzuki Cabinet represented 
a skillful interweaving of the political forces in the rul- 
ing oligarchy, but its main strain was that of the Zaibatsu 
and the throne. It is noteworthy that Admiral Suzuki 
himself had been so closely aligned with "moderate" 
inner court circles that during the military uprising of 
February 1936 he was attacked and wounded by the 
extremist assassins. Other appointments among high- 
ranking military and naval officers indicated the same 
traditionalist, conservative bent. The Minister of War, 
General Anami, had held the trusted post of Military 
Aide-de-Camp to the Emperor. The Minister of State, 
Lieutenant General Toji Yasui, was Chief of Staff dur- 
ing the military revolt of February 1936. The Munitions 


Minister, Admiral Teijiro Toyoda, had married into the 
Mitsui family and became president of the Nippon 
Seitetsu, Japan's mammoth semiofficial iron and steel 
trust, and also of the Iron and Steel Control Association. 

Civilian appointments to the Cabinet also indicated 
the growing influence of the conservatives. The Min- 
ister of Finance, Toyosaku Hirose, had been chairman 
of the Central Association of Life Insurance Companies 
and of the Life Insurance Control Association. The 
Minister of Agriculture and Commerce, Tadaatsu Ishi- 
guro, had been associated with the Central Bank of the 
Co-operative Societies. 

The further shift toward the less adventurist section of 
Japan's ruling oligarchy made possible a dual strategy. 
It became possible to make effective and extensive efforts 
to rally Japan for an all-out defense of the homeland, but 
at the same time the door was left open for surrender 
when Japan's conservatives decided that the time was 
ripe. In short, the Zaibatsu had carried through a further 
step toward protecting its position during the last stages 
of defeat and toward maintaining its important position 
in postwar Japan. 


Thus, in view of the history, motivations and structure 
of the Zaibatsu in Japan, the answer to the question 
"Can We Trust a Big Business Japan?" must be an 
emphatic no. Even at best, the more liberal section of the 
Zaibatsu did not disagree with the ultimate aims of the 
most aggressive elements in Japanese life. During most 
of the modern period, Japan's giant trusts have been im- 
portant and willing partners of the militarists In the ac- 
quisition of new territories for exploitation, with quar- 


rels restricted to the question of methods, division of 
spoils, and supreme power over the domestic economy. 

The men who control Japan's great financial and in- 
dustrial monopolies cannot lead Japan along the road to 
democracy and peace for two reasons. They have shown 
clearly that they are opposed to democratic processes 
of government and have exerted every effort to suppress 
popular discontent. Consequently, continuation of their 
influence upon the postwar Japanese government will 
inhibit the growth and Influence of democratic elements 
in Japan. 

Even more important, these men would unquestion- 
ably be determined and powerful opponents of the 
measures of social and economic reform required to give 
Japan a stable and expanding internal market and to 
absorb venture capital in peaceful pursuits. Their power 
derives from an economic system that keeps the great 
majority of the Japanese people impoverished and there- 
fore unable to provide an adequate market for the prod- 
ucts of modern, large-scale industries. Zaibatsu domina- 
tion makes the emergence of an independent class of 
small capitalists virtually impossible. It is inconceivable 
that the Zaibatsu would voluntarily destroy the condi- 
tions that make possible this monopoly of power. Thus, 
a Zaibatsu-controlltd Japan would maintain, unchanged, 
the internal conditions that were basically responsible 
for launching Japan on her campaign of conquest. 

If Japan remains an autocratic state, ruled by the 
Zaibatsu and retaining an economic structure based on 
cheap peasant and factory labor, we may expect from 
her the same type of trade competition as before the war. 
The continued existence of such a Japan would make it 
extremely difficult if not impossible for the other coun- 
tries of Eastern Asia to establish prosperous expanding 


economies. If, for example, Japan continues to utilize 
excessively cheap labor to manufacture cotton textiles, 
China would be able to develop her own textile industry 
only by competing in the matter of low living standards 
for her people. The same holds true for the industrial 
development of India, the Philippines, the Dutch East 
Indies, and other Asiatic countries. They could protect 
themselves from the Japanese challenge only by creating 
high tariff walls and imposing other forms of trade re- 
strictions for the protection of their domestic industries. 
In this way the old cycle of commercial rivalry in a 
restricted market would begin once more, dooming to 
disappointment the hope for an expanding market in 
Eastern Asia and rising living standards for the Asiatic 




Is the Emperor of Japan an oriental Charlie 
McCarthy, a past puppet of the militarists, who can be 
safely transferred to the knees of the United Nations? 

Or is the throne an integral part of the scourge of 
Japanese aggression? If so, should the Emperor be treated 
as a war criminal, to be tried and liquidated with Tojo 
and his ilk? 

Would it be better to put the throne "on ice" for a 
while until Japanese ardor for it has died down? 

The problem of the future of the Japanese Emperor 
and the throne, as an institution, has certainly generated 
more heat than any other subject relating to Japan. In 
the United States, we have seen how widespread criticism 
of Joseph Clark Grew's Chicago speech, which was 
widely interpreted as supporting the retention of the 
Emperor system, compelled him to back water and to 
insist that he had never declared in favor of or against 
the retention of the throne. In England, H. Vere Redman, 
chief of the Far Eastern Division of the British Ministry 
of Information, has frankly declared: ". . . wild horses 
will not drag from me whether I personally am an 
Emperor-debunker or not." 


Most of those who support the retention and utiliza- 
tion of the Emperor system in postwar Japan do so for 
one or more of the following three reasons: 

One: The Japanese believe in him in a deeply religio- 


nationalistic way, and therefore any attempt on our part 
to depose or weaken him would make us hated and give 
the defeated militarists the best rallying cry they could 
desire for a comeback: "Restore the Emperor!" 

Two: The Emperor set-up will prove an extremely 
useful device for governing during the period of military 
occupation of Japan. Since the Emperor has generally 
been an instrument for other groups to manipulate, it is 
proposed that we use him for our own ends by having 
him issue our regulations as imperial edicts, in order 
to make the period of occupation easier. The people will 
accept anything their Emperor says; and the militarists 
will be unable to resist any document issued by His 
Imperial Majesty. 

Three: It may be possible to make a safe, easy transi- 
tion to parliamentary government by installing liberals 
in the court circles and changing the role of the Emperor 
to that of a constitutional monarch thereby liberaliz- 
ing Japan while preventing an extreme revolutionary re- 
action on the part of the masses. 

Such pro-Emperor reasoning is widely held in the 
American State Department and in the British Foreign 
Office. Many officials are fearful of the problem of oc- 
cupation if the occupying authorities do not have the 
endorsement of the Emperor. There is talk among many 
of ordering bullet-proof vests because they fear for their 
lives in a hostile Japan with a heritage of assassination. 
Others are afraid that, without the co-operation of the 
Emperor, the bureaucracy might refuse to work for the 
occupation authorities and that the latter then would 
be faced with the responsibility of governing 70,000,000 
persons through only a handful of officials with a knowl- 
edge of Japan and the Japanese language. 

This idea of "government through Emperor manipula- 


tion" is particularly favored by- British "Japan experts." 
As late as the beginning of 1945 there was still no British 
training program for "Civil Affairs" officers, and im- 
portant British officials were suggesting that the dis- 
advantages of occupation might exceed the advantages. 
They felt that a small Allied Control Commission, work- 
ing through the Emperor, could achieve Allied objectives 
in Japan without an elaborate military government ap- 

While the American government has indicated that 
it plans to land, occupy and if necessary administer Japan, 
there has been a strong sympathy for the "manipulate 
the Emperor" school in high places. In his testimony be- 
fore the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in De- 
cember 1944, Mr. Joseph Clark Grew suggested that 
if the Emperor should prove to be the only element of 
stability in postwar Japan we might be required to utilize 
him to prevent anarchy and chaos. 

The appeal of this pro-Emperor attitude for highly 
placed officials faced with the difficult problem of oc- 
cupation is obvious. This viewpoint errs, however, in 
one very important regard. It concentrates on only one 
portion of the Emperor question and consequently is 
a serious distortion of the problem as a whole. 

The problem of the continuation of the Japanese in- 
stitution of Emperor-worship cannot be judged narrowly 
in terms of the present transitory state of Japanese 
opinion on the subject, desire for a brief occupation, or 
prejudice against social changes in Japan on the part of 
the Allies. It must be judged in consonance with the 
main objective: the maintenance of Pacific security. 
Without this perspective we may achieve a short and 
peaceful military occupation but end up twenty years 
hence with another long and bloody conflict. 



The Japanese Emperor institution Is the most power- 
ful political Instrument of internal repression ^and external 
a gg ress ion developed in modern times. It is an instru- 
ment developed consciously and deliberately by Japan's 
ruling oligarchy during the last century, as a means of 
suppressing the movement for democracy and social re- 
form at home and channeling all of Japan's energies into 
the support of aggression abroad. 

When Commodore Perry reached Japan in 1853, the 
Emperor was in almost complete obscurity; his people 
gave him little or no thought. He was a virtual prisoner 
in the imperial palace at Kyoto, with his activities and 
ceremonies rigorously circumscribed by the shogun, 
or feudal military dictator. The imperial throne had suf- 
fered an almost unbroken record of misfortune for more 
than 650 years. Without any military resources of its 
own in a feudal society based on military power, it had 
been at the mercy of the ruling military dictator. In- 
dividual Emperors had been assassinated, deposed or re- 
tired at the whim of the ruling shoguns. Emperors had 
been exiled; some had been murdered in exile. From the 
remote island to which he had been relegated, one 
managed to escape hidden under a load of fish. Others 
had to sell autographs for a livelihood. The Emperor 
Tsuchi II lay unburied for six weeks until his son bor- 
rowed money from Buddhist priests to pay the funeral 

In the fourteenth century, things came to such a pass 
that two rival imperial lines defied each other for a space 
of fifty-seven years. These were the so-called Northern 
and Southern Courts, and it was the Northern Court 
branded by later historians as usurping and illegitimate 
that ultimately won the day. 


During all this time, actual ruling power was in the 
hands of the shoguns. There were two reasons why the 
shoguns did not take the seemingly simple step of usurp- 
ing the royal title as well as the royal power. Theoreti- 
cally the shogun's power had been delegated to him by 
the Emperor. Therefore, the shogun held onto the 
Emperor as the symbol of his authority. In addition, 
there was the sentimental tradition perpetuated by a 
handful of historians and priests that Japan's reigning 
house dated back to the "Era of the (Sods" in "a line 
unbroken for ages eternal." Despite shogun opposition, 
these people had kept this tradition alive by secretly 
circulating mytho-histories like the Dai Nihon Shi (His- 
tory of Greater Japan) which exalted the throne by 
tracing it back to the Emperor Jimmu, mythical founder 
of Japan and alleged descendant of the Sun Goddess. 

The throne was ultimately rescued from its obscurity 
by a deep crisis which was already brewing when 
Perry sailed into Tokyo Bay, a crisis which Perry and 
the other Westerners who followed him helped to 

During the previous two decades, Japan had been 
shaken by peasant revolts and rice riots, bred of acute 
agrarian distress. The great merchant princes of Osaka 
and Kyoto, hampered by feudal restrictions on foreign 
trade and bedeviled by the bankrupt shogun's resort 
to forced loans, were growing increasingly restive. Simul- 
taneously, the only partially subdued great Western clans 
of Satsuma, Choshu, Tosa and Hizen were cautiously 
drawing together for a concerted attack on the sho- 

The pressure of the foreign powers, which attempted 
to force the shogun to open Japan to trade, provided 
these anti-shogun forces with their opportunity. They 
raised the slogan of "Revere the Emperor; expel the 


barbarians!" and told the people that unless the Shogun- 
ate were overthrown and the Emperor restored as ruler 
of Japan the country would be overrun by foreign bar- 
barians. The slogan of "Revere the Emperor" was both 
legitimate and effective as an anti-shogun device, because 
the shoguns had originally usurped power from the 
Emperor. Moreover, the diverse anti-shogun forces felt 
safe in supporting the throne, because they knew it was 
a symbol with only the power of a sentimental tradition 
and therefore felt that they could keep it under control 
Eventually a shogun was unable to cope with the in- 
ternal crisis and foreign pressure, and in 1868 he resigned 
and "restored" ruling power to the young Emperor, 
Meiji. It is typical of the Emperor's greatly exalted 
place in modern Japan'ese history that the name attached 
to this "Revolution of 1868" is the "Meiji Restoration" 
after the then seventeen-year-old Emperor and not after 
the real artisans of the transition, the oligarchy of West- 
ern clan leaders and merchant princes. 


The Emperor institution acquired a new function in 
the 'eighties, when it became the main weapon against 
democracy in the arsenal of the Japanese autocrats. After 
1875 a movement developed known as the "People's 
Rights Movement." (Mink en Undo.) Broadly speaking 
this represented an attempt to win for Japan not only a 
centralized state and modern industry but also the 
benefits of political and economic democracy. 

In 1881 the Liberal Party (Jiyuto) was established as 
a national organization. Despite the vagueness of its 
program and the opportunism of its leadership, it re- 
ceived enthusiastic backing from city artisans and the 


land-hungry and debt-burdened peasants, and the move- 
ment developed a militancy which threatened to force 
democracy upon the Meiji government. 

But the oligarchy 'was able to use the throne as an in- 
strument to beat back this democratic movement of the 

One of the centers of the movement was Tokyo, 
where democratic aspirations found voice in liberal 
newspapers. In December 1887 a "Peace Preservation 
Law" was passed, one section of which was designed to 
rid Tokyo of liberal leaders. Note how this was ac- 
complished through the utilization of the throne, and 
also how "dangerous thoughts" were made criminal: 

Any person residing or sojourning within a distance of 
three ri (7 l / 2 miles) radius around the imperial palace, or 
around the imperial place of resort, who plots or incites 
disturbances or who is judged to be scheming something 
detrimental to public tranquility, may be ordered by the 
police or local authorities, with the sanction of the Minister 
of State for Home Affairs, to leave said district within a 
fixed number of days or hours. [Italics mine.] 

As a result of the application of this section, some 300 
liberals, including the editors of the pro-democratic 
papers Choya Shimbun and Koron ShimpOj were driven 
out of Tokyo. 

This policy of shrouding the ugly form of the ruling 
autocracy under the ermine robes of a "heaven-sent" 
monarchy was crystallized in the constitution of 1889. 
The pressure of the Liberal Party and other opponents 
of the ruling oligarchy became so powerful that, in 1881, 
the Meiji government was forced to issue an imperial 
rescript promising a constitution and a Diet, but the 
rescript set the time for 1889 thus giving the oligarchy 


eight years to devise a political instrument which would 
nominally include the national assembly demanded by the 
democrats, while leaving the powers of the ruling clique 

This carefully devised document was primarily the 
work of Prince Ito, who selected the Prussian constitu- 
tion to emulate after he had been sent to Europe as the 
head of a Japanese mission to study foreign constitutions. 
He met Bismarck, and decided that the constitution of 
Prussia - the most autocratic of the twenty-six federal 
states of Germany was the most suitable for adapta- 
tion to Japan's absolutist needs. 

Prince Ito worked for years in the sacrosanct environs 
of the Imperial Household. The locale of his labors was 
very carefully selected. The democrats of Japan main- 
tained that sovereignty lay with the people, and that 
consequently the constitution should be drawn up by 
an elected people's assembly. On the other hand, Prince 
Ito and other defenders of the autocracy insisted that 
sovereignty was inalienably attached to the Emperor's 
person and that accordingly he alone could grant a con- 
stitution to the people, as a gift. 

The Japanese constitution was finally promulgated on 
February 11, 1889. All opposition newspapers by now 
had been suppressed, and others were forbidden to com- 
ment on the document. Not only had the constitution 
been drawn up in secret, but it was read to an audience 
of select officials from which the general public was 

The product of Ito's labors was a political strait jacket 
which throttled the democratic movement of that period 
and has bound Japan to this day. The constitution en- 
shrined the theory that all the sovereign powers of the 
state are united in the Emperor, Under the supreme 


direction of the Emperor, the administration of the gov- 
ernment is carried out by the Cabinet, in collaboration 
with the Privy Council and with the consent of the Diet. 
The Cabinet is responsible primarily to the Emperor. 
The army and navy, as in the Prussian constitution, are 
not controlled by the Diet, but are subject directly to 
the Emperor. The Diet is given no independent power 
of legislation or amendment, and is deprived of the 
power to use the withholding of money as a political 
weapon by the provision that in the event a proposed 
budget is not passed, the budget of the previous year 
goes into effect. Even the Diet's consent is not required 
for all measures, because in time of "emergency" when 
the Diet is not in session, imperial ordinances have the 
force of law. 

Thus it was that the throne was developed still further 
as a means of blocking the development of democratic 
forces and institutions in Japan. 


The Meiji oligarchy developed still another use for 
the throne in the 1890's, when Japan made its debut as an 
imperialist power by joining in the mad scramble for 
loot in China. 

Until the 1890's, the throne had not developed a strong 
hold upon the people. It was still simply the center of 
a sentimental tradition and though it had been used as 
a political device by the oligarchy it did not as yet touch 
the lives of the people. This is clearly demonstrated by 
the diary of Dr. Erwin Baelz, a German doctor who was 
personal physician to Emperor Meiji and the imperial 
family for many years. In Dr. Baelz's diary, which was 
recently published under the title of Awakening Japan, 


he has the following Illuminating entry, which shows 
what shallow roots the Emperor cult has in Japanese 

Tokyo. November 3, 1880. The Emperor's birthday. It 
distresses me to see how little Interest the populace takes 
in their rulers. Only when the police insist on it are the 
houses decorated with flags. 

The canny and ruthless leaders of Meiji Japan soon 
realized that modern weapons were not enough to create 
an effective aggressive army. Simple patriotism would 
be sufficient for the morale of an army designed for 
defense. But for an army capable of subjugating other 
peoples, patriotism alone did not suffice. A form of 
jingoism, a belief that Japan was superior to other nations 
and consequently was called upon by divine right to 
rule them, was required. Therefore they developed the 
cult of Emperor-worship as an instrument for channel- 
ing religious impulse Into the service of an aggressive 

Shinto provided the ideal raw material for the es- 
tablishment of this cult. The word Shinto means "The 
Way of the Gods." In its original form this religion was 
a primitive form of nature worship, paying homage to 
the sun, rain, moon and other natural phenomena. When 
Buddhism was introduced from China in the sixth century 
A.D., carrying with it the superior culture, the more pro- 
found philosophy and the higher ethical code of China, 
it drove Shinto into obscurity for thirteen centuries. 

In the nineteenth century a modified Shinto was re- 
vived by nationalist scholars. They helped develop a 
spirit of devotion to the imperial family by publicizing 
the legend that the throne dated back to Emperor Jimmu f 
mythical founder of the Japanese Empire, and descendant 


of the Sun Goddess. This theory provided ammuni- 
tion for the forces which succeeded in overthrowing 
the shogun and establishing the Meiji Restoration. 

Having had so much success in utilizing Shinto 
as a political device, the Meiji leaders next desired to 
develop it still further as a means of establishing a na- 
tional morale capable of waging aggressive wars. They 
would have liked to accomplish this simply by converting 
Shinto into the state religion, and abolishing all other 
religions, but were unable to do so because this would 
have brought them into a head-on collision with all the 
missionary-exporting Western Powers. Japan could not 
yet afford to offend those powers, particularly simul- 

The Meiji leaders solved their problem in a character- 
istically shrewd and opportunistic manner. Out of the 
heterogeneous background of legend and nature-worship, 
they developed two separate strains of Shinto which 
are legally and theoretically entirely distinct. One was 
"Sect Shinto," which is considered a religion of personal 
choice, equal before the law with Buddhism and Chris- 
tianity. The other was "State Shinto," comprising the 
special beliefs and practices associated with nationalism, 
the Emperor and his "divine ancestors." All Japanese are 
compulsorily devotees of State Shinto, regardless of 
whether their personal religion is Christianity, Buddhism 
or Sect Shinto. Thus, all Christians in Japan must worship 
also at State Shinto shrines. 

The next stage was to build up a popular reverence 
for the Emperor. One means was to Insist on that special 
type of "honorific" language which translates so peculi- 
arly into English, being replete with words like "august," 
"divine," "trepidation" and the like. 

The term "Son of Heaven" was apparently first used 


in 1889. Bowing toward the Emperor's portrait was be- 
gun in the eighteen-nineties. Simultaneously there began 
a "Shintofication" of Japanese history, designed to 

"prove" that since 660 B.C. Japan had been "reigned over 
and governed by a line of Emperors unbroken for ages 


Unfortunately, the authentic history of Japan proved 
no such thing. Most Japanese scholars in the 'twenties 
placed the founding of Japan at 40 B.C. Actually there 
was no authentic Japanese history before about the fifth 
century A.O., and most of the history after this time 
showed that the imperial line had been anything but 
unbroken. These "antinational" facts were corrected, 
however, by recalling any history textbooks which 
treated the throne with such irreverent candor, and 
replacing them by "purified" mytho-histories. Some of 
these are really impressive examples of "creative" history 
writing. In order to stretch the imperial line back to 
660 B.C., it was necessary to give certain Emperors 
reigns of over a hundred years! 

Every effort was made to relate Japan's successes in 
the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 and the Russo- 
Japanese War a decade later to the newly-exalted Em- 
peror. The somewhat unexpected victories of aggres- 
sive, highly organized Japan over the lumbering colossi 
of China and Russia were ascribed to the miraculous 
influence of the Emperor's virtue and to the virtues 
of his imperial and divine ancestors. After each great 
victory, imperial envoys were sent to carry the good 
tidings to the Sun Goddess at her great shrine at Ise, 
Cannon captured from the Chinese, and later from the 
Russians, were officially installed at Ise, at Yasukuni and 
at the other principal Shinto shrines throughout the 
land thus identifying aggression, State Shinto and 


national glory as a single concept in the popular mind. 

The shrines played an increasingly important role 
in developing the cult of Emperor-worship. State Shinto 
is sometimes called "Shrine Shinto" because it is based 
upon a nationwide network of state shrines. Above the 
simple village shrine level there are some 5000 State 
Shinto shrines all with standard ceremonies to be used 
during national festivals and other state occasions. This 
hierarchy of shrines culminates in the two most important 
ones in Japan: Yasukuni and Ise. 

The shrine at Ise honors the Sun Goddess, who is 
officially defined as the ancestress of the royal line. It 
is largely by means of the governmentally supervised 
worship of the Sun Goddess that the virtue of devotion 
to the state is infused with the sentiment of religious 

The Yasukuni shrine, second in importance, is the 
most direct link between State Shinto and military ag- 
gression. The word Yasukuni means "Nation-Protect- 
ing," and the shrine is dedicated to the spirits of those 
who have died in the defense of the Empire. Those who 
have died in battle "for the Emperor" are deified there, 
amid impressive ceremonies. 

These shrines are perfect complements to each other. 
The Ise shrine establishes the divinity of the imperial 
family through its ancestress the Sun Goddess. All the 
wars of Japan therefore are holy wars, since they are 
under the supreme command of a divine Emperor who 
can do no wrong. Thus those who die fighting such a 
war have died for a holy cause and the ceremony at 
Yasukuni raises them to the rank of demigods, and makes 
them living denizens of the spirit world. 



The experience of this latest war has demonstrated 
without peradventure of doubt the effectiveness of 
Emperor-worship as the politico-religious backbone of 
Japanese aggression. As an inspiration to battle it has far 
surpassed the Nazi dogma of Aryan supremacy^ more 
nearly approaching the religious fervor of militant 
Mohammedanism, the fervor which in the seventh and 
eighth centuries made the Moors rulers of a realm more 
extensive than that of Rome at its height. The fanaticism 
of a heavily indoctrinated Japanese, believing himself a 
descendant -of the Sun Goddess, is directly comparable 
to the fiery enthusiasm of the "true believers" of Islam. 
The war aims of the Japanese, who seek only to spread 
the "august virtues" of the Emperor to the "eight 
corners" of the world, are as crusadingly religious as was 
the Mohammedan attempt to force the world into the 
Islamic fold. Like the Mohammedan warrior, for whom 
death in battle was the surest admission to Paradise, 
the Japanese soldier feels assured of deification at the 
shrine of Yasukuni. 

In short, the Japanese cult of Emperor-worship is the 
ideal auxiliary to aggression, because it combines an 
evangelical belief in the cause for which the soldier is 
fighting plus a special inducement for death in battle. 
The Emperor cult is the religion of a ruthless militarism. 
Japan's wartime government officials have demon- 
strated the importance of this institution by the extent 
to which they have utilized it during this war. In the 
past, it always has been the rule to use the name of 
the Emperor sparingly and with great restraint. This 
custom has been based on the unstated but practical 
theory that too much use of the revered symbol would 


cheapen it. But as the war has developed from Japanese 
victories to Japanese reverses, and then to crushing de- 
feats, the Emperor has lost more and more of his imperial 
privacy. On increasingly frequent occasions, harsh acts 
of the government and blunders of the military in the 
fields have been smoothed over by artful identification 
of these otherwise depressing events with the person 
and desires of the Emperor. When reinforcements and 
supplies could not be sent to an isolated garrison, the 
military would send a proclamation signed by the Em- 
peror telling them to die to the last man in order to 
put his mind at ease. With increasing frequency, Tokyo 
propagandists used a congratulatory message from the 
Emperor to bolster fantastic claims of Japanese successes 
against the United States Pacific Fleet. On the eighth of 
every month, all newspapers had to publish the declara- 
tion of war against the United States and Britain, promul- 
gated over the Emperor's signature. 

There can be no doubt that the potency of the 
Emperor cult has had the result of prolonging the war 
by putting the stamp of divinity upon the suicidal, last- 
ditch fight of many Japanese garrisons. "Even though 
the war situation develops unfavorably," declared an 
article in the magazine Fuji in June 1943, "we must con- 
tinue to fight without food and ammunition. If there are 
no bullets, offer our bodies. If our bodies are broken, our 
spirits will fight on until the Emperor commands 'cease.' 
It is Japan's purpose to offer everything to shield the 

The Emperor cult has been one of the main causes 
for the bestial atrocities of the Pacific war. To the in- 
doctrinated Japanese soldier all 1 military duties are per- 
formed on behalf of the Emperor. Consequently the 
atrocity-committing soldier feels he has no personal re- 


sponsibility and the most despicable act Is ennobled be- 
cause it is performed on behalf of the god-Emperor. 


In view of these facts it must be stated flatly that we 
cannot do business with Emperor Hirohito or his suc- 
cessor for any purpose except to have him accept un- 
conditional surrender and order his forces to surrender, 
Any further utilization on our part will only be con- 
sidered by the Japanese as our recognition of the su- 
premacy of the Emperor, thus strengthening the in- 

We need have little fear that it will be impossibly 
difficult to administer Japan without manipulating the 
Emperor. Most groups in Japan will be anxious to please. 
The upper classes will probably be overanxious, hoping 
to maintain their relative position in society by ingratiat- 
ing themselves with the victors. Other classes will realize 
that we have in our hands the food and raw material 
imports and that life is likely to go on pretty much auto- 
matically if they co-operate. Those who have dealt with 
Japanese prisoners of war generally agree that, with 
the exception of a minority of incorrigible military fas- 
cists, most of the prisoners have been submissive and 

There is little reason for the fear which seems to haunt 
the State Department and the Foreign Office that the 
Japanese bureaucracy will not work for us unless the 
Emperor orders them to. Bureaucracies the world over 
will work for whosoever pays their salaries; and Japanese 
civil servants, if anything, are more dependent upon 
their salaries than most. Any sabotage of military gov- 


ernment will not come from our not having the imperial 
rubber stamp but from the presence in the bureaucracy 
of military fascists who must therefore be rooted out 
and destroyed. If such a clean-out is made in the top 
policy-making strata of the bureaucracy, there should be 
little difficulty in getting the lower ranks of the Japanese 
civil service to fall into line. 

The exponents of the Charlie McCarthy school also 
suggest that it is possible to make a "painless" transition 
to parliamentary government in Japan, by installing 
"liberal" or "moderate" advisers behind the throne. This 
is both dangerous and impractical. Such a government 
might have a parliamentary f agade, but It would remain 
an oligarchy even though the dominant members of the 
oligarchy were industrialists and polished aristocrats 
rather than arrogant militarists. In such a case, all that 
the military fascists would have to do would be to re- 
place these "liberals" as the powers behind the throne 
and they would once more be in command of the 
world's most perfect instrument for Internal repression 
and external aggression. 

No, there is no shortcut to reforming Japan. The 
history of the modern world has demonstrated that those 
people who have had a voice in their own affairs have 
been the most reluctant to go to war. Consequently, it 
Is in the interest of the United Nations to encourage the 
emergence of a Japan controlled by its people, rather 
than by an oligarchy operating under the protection of 
imperial sovereignty. 


All the dangers in Allied policy toward the Emperor 
are not restricted to the possibility that we will be too 


soft, or attempt to convert him Into an Allied tool 
Dangers also lurk in the policy of a premature, frontal 
attack on the throne. The danger arises not from the ob- 
jective but pom the incorrect strategy for achieving the 
correct objective. Many liberals in this country believe 
that the immediate elimination of the Emperor cult is 
essential This argument is based on the undeniable fact 
that Emperor-worship constitutes the most important 
weapon in the arsenal of Japan's autocrats and military 


Despite this, it is equally true that those who demand 
an immediate, direct and leveling attack on the Emperor, 
the imperial house and the whole religio-political system 
are indulging in a dangerous form of political irresponsi- 
bility. The demand is understandable and undoubtedly 
soul-satisfying to those who make it, but it may play into 
the hands of the militarists. 

The mistake is based on an underestimation of the 
powerful hold which the Emperor cult now has upon 
the Japanese people, a hold which although of com- 
paratively recent vintage is so strong that not one Jap- 
anese in fifty has even a critical attitude toward the 
throne. There is little evidence that even a disastrous 
defeat will seriously undermine the belief of the ma- 
jority of the Japanese in their Emperor, at least at 
first. The evidence available, however, indicates that 
there will be widespread resentment against the militarists, 
who, in Japanese political theory, are responsible for ad- 
vising the Emperor incorrectly. While the hold of the 
Emperor cult is likely to be shaken somewhat in certain 
narrow sections of the population, others are likely to 
cling ever more tightly to their faith in the throne dur- 
ing the confusion of the initial stages of political re- 


If the victorious Allies make the mistake of openly 
and prematurely throwing their Influence against the 
throne and the imperial house, they will present the 
Japanese militarists and chauvinists with the best po- 
litical opportunity they could desire the opportunity 
of deflecting popular sentiment against them into a holy 
crusade in defense of the Emperor. 

It is important to note that all those antifascists who 
have actually worked at converting Japanese prisoners 
of war from their military fascist ideology agree that it 
is impossible to solve the problem of the Emperor with 
a frontal attack. Mr. Wataru Kaji, the well-known 
Japanese revolutionary writer who has been working 
with the Chungking government since 1938 as a "psycho- 
logical adviser" directing propaganda among Japanese 
soldiers and civilians, has repeatedly warned against the 
danger of starting a "holy crusade" in Japan by a direct 
attack on the Emperor. 

Susumu Okano, experienced leader of the Japanese 
People's Emancipation League founded in Yenan, has 
also warned against a direct or premature attack on the 
throne. This is particularly significant because this organi- 
zation has done the most extensive work among Japanese 
prisoners, having converted some 500 of them by the 
end of 1944. Furthermore, Okano is the leading Japanese 
Communist and came to this conclusion after years 
of advocating the Emperor's overthrow and then only 
after consultation with a delegate of the Communists 
working underground within Japan. 


The reluctance of these antifascists to raise the cry of 
"Down with the Emperor" as an immediate political 


slogan, despite the fact that they are personally and 
doctrinally very strongly opposed to the retention of the 
Emperor cult, is purely a question of political strategy. 
In politics, as In war, when a frontal attack Is too costly, 
it is frequently advisable and no less effective to utilize 
a flank attack. This is undoubtedly the strategy which 
should be followed in this case, for It is possible to cut 
the institution off from its base, Isolate it and finally 
destroy it by attrition without ever incurring the risk 
of strengthening the militarists by a premature direct 


Our attack should consist of three complementary 
thrusts. One should have the objective of weakening the 
sources of the throne's strength. The second should at- 
tempt to discredit the institution itself. And the third 
should support the democratic forces In Japan which 
will of themselves work to counter the influences of the 

The throne has derived Its greatest strength from those 
forces which have used it to shield their nefarious ac- 
tivities. This includes first and foremost the military 
fascists, the jingoists, the extreme nationalists. Without 
exception the most arrant militarists, like Generals Araki 
and Tojo, have always been the most ardent exponents 
of the Emperor cult. Many of these can be "liquidated" 
as war criminals; others imprisoned as a threat to the 
security of our occupation forces; others sent to hard 
labor on vigilance bases in the Pacific and the remainder 
denied access to the press and radio. 

The great financial interests have also been strong 
supporters of the Emperor institution. Several of the 
Emperor's closest advisers have been related to the 
Mitsubishi and the Sumitomo families. A weakening of 
the stranglehold of these great financial combines on the 


Japanese economy will simultaneously weaken one of 
the main pillars of the throne. Other elements of the old 
ruling class, such as the landlords, aristocrats and Prus- 
sian-style bureaucrats, have also supported the throne. 
The fewer of these elements allowed to pollute the 
political atmosphere, the greater the opportunity for 
the development among the Japanese people of a more 
critical and rational attitude on this subject. 

At the same time, every attempt should be made to 
chip away at the institution itself. The rate of chipping 
and the weight of the blows should be keyed to the 
rate at which the Japanese people develop a critical 

It is both possible and advisable to secure the abdica- 
tion of the present Emperor after he has accepted our 
surrender demands and ordered his forces to give up. 
Under Japanese law only the Emperor can declare and 
end wars, and he is the commander in chief of the armed 
forces. Hirohito cannot escape some personal responsi- 
bility for the war because, first of all, he made no overt 
move to prevent it. Such action could have been decisive 
at various times when the ruling group was fairly evenly 
divided, such as when the militarists invaded Manchuria 
and the financial interests were wary. Furthermore, dur- 
ing the course of the war he has gone far beyond any 
historical precedents in supporting the military effort. 
Therefore, every effort should be made to secure his 
abdication, his acceptance of the onus for the declaration 
of war, for the war's unsuccessful prosecution and for 
the final defeat. We should encourage the propaganda 
of the democratic Japanese in driving this point home 
to their people. If and when it will contribute to the 
disillusionment of the Japanese people with the throne, 
we should try him as a war criminal, 


Since it is impossible to abolish the Emperor cult from 
the outside with any finality, it would be advisable to try 
to encourage the cooling-off of Japanese ardor by put- 
ting the throne "on ice" as much as possible. One such 
step might be to allow the naming of one of Hirohito's 
children as his successor rather than his brother Prince 
Chichibu who has strong connections with the Mitsui 
or his other brothers. There is plenty of precedent for 
a child sovereign. For centuries, when the imperial in- 
stitution was in eclipse, there was a succession of infant 
and child sovereigns, each one generally being forced to 
abdicate as soon as he approached maturity. 

The new Emperor should be installed in one of the 
more inaccessible, easily guarded palaces like Hayama, 
and treated with courtesy. The only persons with access 
to him should be regents selected from the few members 
of the aristocracy with a record of opposition to mili- 
tarism and leanings toward democracy. These regents 
would not have much power in view of the transference 
of policy and lawmaking powers to the occupation au- 
thorities during the period of military government. 

It is possible to do a number of other things to dimmish 
the aura of sacredness surrounding the institution. One 
is to publicize the tremendous holdings of the Im- 
perial Household in banking and industrial stocks, bonds 
and land. It is not known in Japan that the Emperor's 
economic holdings make him almost as wealthy as the 
Mitsuis. Big Business is thoroughly and widely disliked 
in Japan and if it were widely disseminated that the 
Imperial Household ranks with the largest combines, and 
has made war profits out of the "holy war," there would 
be a considerable amount of disillusionment. 

This education should be accompanied by actions 
which would deprive the Imperial Household of its bil- 


lion-yen wealth while benefiting those whom the insti- 
tution has helped to oppress and damage. The farmland 
should be turned over to the tenants tilling it. The wealth 
represented by the vast holdings of bonds and stocks 
should be turned over to the Japanese treasury to help 
finance reparations to the countries which Japan has 

The State Shinto shrines, and particularly Yasukuni, 
should be stripped of their militarist aspects. It must be 
emphasized that this renovation can be carried out only 
by the Japanese people themselves, but this does not pre- 
clude considerable encouragement from occupation au- 
thorities. These authorities themselves should be very 
careful not to encourage the retention of the cult by the 
use of any of the prestige words customarily used to 
describe the Emperor, such as Tenno Heika, meaning 
"Heavenly Ruler." 

All superpatriotic films, which generally exalt the 
Emperor, should be banned and the widespread showing 
of Western films encouraged. The textbooks of Dr. 
Minobe and other jurists and historians who have taken 
a rational or critical attitude toward the throne should 
be reprinted and free discussion and criticism of the 
throne encouraged. 

The positive, and thus the most vital, step in weaken- 
ing the cult's hold is the strengthening of its natural op- 
ponents those who favor popular sovereignty against 
imperial sovereignty. During the period of military oc- 
cupation it should be possible to encourage the potential 
democratic forces in Japan in many ways. The occupy- 
ing authorities will have control over the radio, press and 
public gatherings. Allowing the antimilitarists and oppo- 
nents of the Emperor cult to have access to the radio and 
press, and permitting them to hold public meetings, while 


discouraging the antidemocratic and pro-Emperor ele- 
ments, will be of great importance. Similarly, the occupy- 
ing authorities will have the opportunity of assisting and 
encouraging the work of co-operatives, peasant leagues, 
trade unions and other popular organizations which are 
certain to emerge in the postwar period. 

In other words, our support must be given to those 
forces that desire to carry through a far-reaching pro- 
gram of internal and political reform, rather than to 
those who seek to retain the old order shrouded in the 
blood-spotted vestments of the monarchy. 



Out of the war has come a series of sto- 
ries, jokes and humorous and semihumorous conjec- 
tures which reflect a feeling which is widely held in 
the United States: the only good Jap is a dead Jap. 

One of the best illustrations of this attitude is con- 
tained in the instructions to advancing Marines on Bou- 
gainville: "Every Jap has been told that it is his duty 
to die for the Emperor. It is your duty to* see that he 

On the battlefield this method has Its merits. How- 
ever, the same attitude is carried over into many of the 
plans offered for the postwar solution of the Japanese 
problem. One high-ranking naval officer has suggested 
that our postwar plans for Japan should be restricted to 
offering cut-rate, one-way tickets to a live volcano 
famous In Japan as a suicide spot. Washington has re- 
ceived a steady flow of suggestions and plans as to how 
to bring the war to a quick end, and solve the problems 
of the peace such as causing an artificial earthquake 
which will cause all of Japan to slide down into the 
Pacific deeps. 

The prevalence of the feeling that the Japanese are 
an incurably warlike nation of 70,000,000 fanatics is also 
indicated by public opinion polls. In a poll taken by the 
Denver National Opinion Center in June 1943, of those 
having opinions six out of ten persons felt that the Jap- 
anese will always want to go to war; three out of ten 
felt that while the Japanese may not like war they are 
too easily led into war by powerful leaders; only one 


out of ten felt that the Japanese people do not like war 
and if they could have the same chance as people In 
other countries they would become good citizens of 

the world. 


The last-ditch struggle of Japanese troops on Attu, 
Iwo Jima, Okinawa and other places, reports of suicidal 
banzai charges and mass civilian suicides have convinced 
many that all Japanese are incomprehensible, incurable 

When American troops landed on the Island of Toka- 
shiki in the Kurama Group of islands in March 1945, 
preparatory to the landing on Okinawa, they came upon 
a mass civilian suicide which was certainly incompre- 
hensible at first. Advancing patrols of the 77th Division 
heard inhuman screaming and wailing and bursts of hand 
grenades. Finally they came upon a gully littered with 
nearly 200 dead and dying civilians who had committed 
suicide using all sorts of methods from self-strangulation 
to holding hand grenades against their chests. One group 
apparently included an entire family, consisting of a 
father, two small children and a grandfather and grand- 

When the survivors were questioned it turned out that 
the civilians were victims of Japanese propaganda sto- 
ries that death was better than the fate which would 
await them at the hands of the Western barbarians. Jap- 
anese soldiers had told them that the Americans would 
violate and torture the women and kill the men. At the 
urging of the soldiers and in order to save themselves 
from what they thought would be a more horrible fate, 
the civilians had attempted suicide en masse. 


The civilians who did not attempt to kill themselves, 
or else did not succeed, expressed amazement and grati- 
tude for the food and medical treatment given them. In 
no case was there any attempt at suicide after capture 
and treatment by the American forces. There was, of 
course, tremendous remorse on the part of heads of 
families who had killed their children but did not succeed 
in doing away with themselves. One old man who had 
strangled his daughter was overcome with grief when 
he saw other women unharmed and well-treated. 

Along with the feeling of gratitude for good treat- 
ment and grief for those who had died needlessly was a 
deep resentment against soldier and civilian ringleaders 
of the suicide movement, A group of seventy civilian 
refugees, munching food, stopped when a Japanese sol- 
dier was put in the circle with them. They turned on 
him and denounced him with such vehemence that the 
American soldiers were forced to move him elsewhere 
for his own safety. 

This incident would seem to indicate that the civilian 
suicides, rather than being the acts of incomprehensible 
fanatics, were those of peoples so thoroughly isolated 
from any outside truth and so saturated with lying propa- 
ganda about the sadistic brutality of Americans that they 
preferred suicide to a fate which they believed would be 

The suicidal banzai charge of a hopelessly outnum- 
bered Japanese military force is similarly comprehen- 
sible. The soldier and the potential soldier has been the 
particular object of propaganda virtually from the day 
of birth. In the schools, shrines, youth associations, mili- 
tary camps, and through the newspapers, radio and 
movies he has been indoctrinated with one idea above 
all that there is no higher attainment than dying in 


battle for the Emperor. But -and here Is the crucial 
point -the authorities have not even trusted this sat- 
urating propaganda. They have reinforced it by a num- 
ber of devices calculated to prevent soldiers from sur- 
rendering. The soldier knows that if he surrenders his 
family will be disgraced and he has been convinced that 
he himself will never be allowed to return to ^ Japan. 
The authorities have convinced the troops that if they 
are captured by American forces they will be tortured 
and lolled, probably by being run over by a tank or 
bulldozer. In addition, virtually every unit has had a 
core of fanatic military fascists ready to shoot in the 
back any man attempting to surrender. Consequently the 
motivation of some of those participating in a suicidal 
banzai charge is not necessarily fanaticism but the feeling 
that since their position is hopeless and they cannot sur- 
render either honorably or safely they may as well die 
in a final burst of glory. 


The Japanese leaders have betrayed their knowledge 
that their people are not incurably warlike by the ex- 
treme attempts they have made to prevent Allied propa- 
ganda from reaching them. After the overthrow of Mus- 
solini, Japanese newspapers and magazines discussed in 
great detail the Allied methods of psychological warfare 
used in turning the Italian people against Fascism, and 
expressed concern that similar tactics would be tried 
against Japan. Tokyo revealed even greater uneasiness 
when American forces captured Saipan in July 1944. 
On July 16 the Asahi published an article entitled "Next 
Will Come Paper Bombs." This showed deep concern 
over the effect of leaflets which might be dropped in 


Japan by planes operating from bases In China and 
Saipan. It warned that "the United States and England 
are clever old hands at" psychological warfare. "They 
were successful In Italy and other places." 

Official circles predicted that intensified American 
broadcasts would emanate from Saipan and the people 
were furnished with a list of official Japanese announcers 
and commentators. They were told to familiarize them- 
selves with the sound of the official announcers' voices 
and to shut off their radios If any unidentified announcers 
or strange voices came on the air with news. 

On July 17 the Asahi betrayed the same fear: "Japan 
has forbidden its citizens to receive short-wave broad- 
casts and thought herself perfectly safe, but from today 
onwards she cannot set her mind at rest." On August 15 
the same paper warned that it was not entirely nonsense 
to say that the Japanese people were like hothouse flow- 
ers since "it really can be said that as regards enemy 
propaganda, our ears have received very little training." 

As predicted by the Japanese, psychological warfare 
reached a new high in December 1944 when the United 
States Office of War Information began beaming broad- 
casts to Japan from the new and powerful medium-wave 
transmitter on Saipan. This new transmitter opened a 
vast new avenue for reaching the Japanese people by 
radio. Until then Allied radio propaganda had been 
short-waved, and such broadcasts could only be re- 
ceived on a relatively few sets concentrated in the hands 
of government officials, industrialists and militarist lead- 
ers. It was a tremendous advance when the Saipan sta- 
tion was able to transmit to an estimated 5,000,000 
medium-wave receiving sets in Japan. 

The Tokyo radio attempted to answer this threat by 
calling on all its domestic listeners to turn off their re- 


ceiving sets and go to bed at the end of the regular 
broadcasting schedule. The reason for this was that the 
OWI transmitter went on the air as soon as the regular 
Japanese broadcasting schedule was over. 

These frantic attempts to maintain the Isolation of 
the Japanese people from the world of peaceful^ and 
democratic ideas have demonstrated official recognition 
of the fact that despite years of extremely intensive 
militarist indoctrination the Japanese are still susceptible 
to peaceful and democratic propaganda. 


The Japanese government has not only been con- 
cerned with passive susceptibility to these ideas, but has 
had to take extensive and brutal repressive measures 
against those who have militantly supported them, even 
at the risk of their lives. Japan is as close to a police- 
state as any country can come. For half a century the 
authorities have mobilized every weapon at their dis- 
posal to uproot and destroy all vestiges of democratic 
and peaceful thought in Japan. The Japanese ruling 
oligarchy, both civilian and military, has always main- 
tained itself in large part through police terror. Even 
during the 1920's, when the somewhat increased role 
of the political parties led many to believe that Japan 
was on the way to a constitutional democracy, the par- 
liamentary fagade hid the sordid reality of a police 
despotism which denied the people the most elemen- 
tary human rights. 

It is difficult to exaggerate the extent of the powers 
of the police in Japan. They have always been at lib- 
erty to brush aside the existing laws under the pretext 
that their actions are required to "maintain the peace." 


Although incarceration without trial is illegal, even in 
the 'twenties the police were arresting people and hold- 
ing them for as long as two years while "examining" 
them. Many of those being held for questioning are later 
reported to have died of "heart failure." 

The same excesses of torture and brutality which the 
Japanese military have demonstrated against Allied pris- 
oners and the people of the occupied areas were first 
unleashed by the Japanese police against those of their 
own people who resisted the drive toward aggression 
and repression. In the autumn of 1935 there was a pub- 
licly announced meeting of penitentiary wardens in 
Tokyo to discuss what torture instruments were best 
for Japanese prisoners. "A new instrument, undescribed, 
is said to be under contemplation for use on women 
prisoners," declared the Japan Advertiser of October 12, 

One of the outstanding examples of police brutality 
was the murder of Takiji Kobayashi, Japan's foremost 
proletarian writer. He was only thirty when he was 
killed in 1933, but he had already achieved a wide repu- 
tation with such powerful stories of popular discontent 
as The Cannery Boat. He had already served several 
prison terms for leftist agitation, and was again engaged 
in that type of illegal activity when he was caught by 
the police on February 21, 1933. On the street he strug- 
gled with the police for half an hour and almost suc- 
ceeded in escaping. He was finally overcome and dragged 
to the police station where third-degree methods were 
applied to him. Within five hours he was tortured to 
death, apparently without revealing the names of his 
associates. The police secured a death certificate which 
stated that he had died of "heart trouble," and the body 
was handed over to his mother, who, when she saw it, 


refused to believe the police story. Friends contacted all 
the big hospitals requesting a post-mortem examination, 
but were refused everywhere. One hospital finally did 
consent, only to refuse when the body was brought 
and they realized its identity. Photographs of the body 
were taken, however, and these clearly revealed evi- 
dence of torture. On the forehead was the brand of a 
red-hot poker. On the neck were the cuts of a thin, 
tight rope. The wrists showed handcuff bruises, while 
one wrist was twisted completely around. The entire 
back was rubbed raw and from the knees up the legs 
were swollen and purple with internal bleeding. 

Arrest and brutal torture were experienced not alone 
by the Communists, although those arrested were gen- 
erally described as "Communists" or possessors of "dan- 
gerous thoughts." Between 1931 and 1934 more than 
24,000 alleged Communists were seized and imprisoned. 
The Japan Times reported in 1936 that more than 
59,000 persons had been arrested for various "dangerous 
thoughts" offenses during the preceding three years. 
These offenses extended to any intellectual, political or 
economic deviation from that prescribed by the increas- 
ingly repressive and aggressive government. In addition 
to actual Communists and leaders of labor and peasant 
unions who sought more rice for their followers, teachers 
in primary schools were arrested for seeking to give a 
modern interpretation to the Emperor myths that pass 
for history in Japan. Nurses were arrested for asking 
for more than forty cents in payment for twelve hours 
of work; so were university professors who contributed 
funds to help liberal candidates seek election to the Diet. 
Not only left-wing workers, but lawyers, college pro- 
fessors and the sons and daughters of millionaires, of 


members of the House of Peers and of judges were 
among those caught In the police dragnet. 

Japan, like Germany, made every effort to crush in- 
ternal opposition before embarking upon its major ag- 
gression; and by the time of Pearl Harbor, Japan's po- 
litical organizations and trade unions had been fairly 
thoroughly crushed. But perhaps the most important 
political victory which the Japanese oligarchy won in the 
course of its suppressive efforts was won in the United 
States. The military fascists benefited greatly from the 
failure of Americans to realize that the internal suppres- 
sion of democrats and even radicals in Japan was a vital 
step in the direction of external aggression against the 
United States and other peaceful powers. We did not 
realize that the torture and death of a Japanese leftist 
for opposing war was preliminary to a war in which 
American, British and Chinese prisoners of war were 
to be tortured and killed. 

Even after Pearl Harbor there have been a fairly con- 
siderable number of indications of a persistence of anti- 
militarism, particularly among intellectuals and indus- 
trial laborers. There have been authentic reports of ar- 
rests, strikes, absenteeism, the banning of leading maga- 
zines. Had such events occurred in Germany, they would 
have merited newspaper headlines. Because they hap- 
pened in Japan they were almost entirely ignored. 


The capture of Saipan in July 1944 and with it the 
capture of thousands of Japanese civilians gave Ameri- 
can psychological warfare officials their first opportu- 
nity to determine Japanese reactions without having to 


guess at the inner significance of information gleaned 
from Japanese broadcasts or captured periodicals. In 
order to get answers to questions in which they were 
interested, a poll was conducted on Saipan in Camp 
Suspe, where 13,243 Japanese were housed. 

This poll was conducted by American officers trained 
in the Japanese language and was limited to 500 Japanese 
civilians selected according to education, station in life 
and sex, so as to give the nearest possible cross-section of 
civilian Japanese opinion as it might exist in the home- 
land. One of the questions asked was: "Do you want a 
government in which the people rule? 7 ' Of those an- 
swering fifty-one said "yes," 290 said "no" and 151 de- 
clared that they did not know. Thus one out of ten 
interrogated and one out of seven with opinions ex- 
pressed a desire for democracy. 

At first sight this percentage may seem very small and 
therefore discouraging to hopes for a democratization of 
Japan. But a closer study of these results shows such pes- 
simism not only unwarranted but dangerous. 

It is not at all surprising that only a small minority 
answered in the affirmative to the question: "Do you 
want a government in which the people rule?" It would 
be more indicative of the real democratic potential of 
Japan if the farmer being polled were asked whether he 
wanted a democracy which could bring him lower rents 
and taxes and the ability to buy his own land on easy 
terms. The industrial worker should be asked whether 
he is interested in supporting a democracy in which he 
could obtain an eight-hour day, the right to organize free 
trade unions of his own choice and to bargain collec- 
tively. The small business man and merchant should be 
asked whether they would work for a democracy in 
which the tremendous power of Mitsui and Mitsubishi 


could be curbed and the little fellow given an opportu- 
nity. And the intellectual should be queried as to his 
reaction to a democracy which would permit freedom 
of expression and give him the opportunity to use his 
talents for the general welfare. 

For every Japanese who consciously desires a demo- 
cratic government there are probably a half-dozen peas- 
ants, workers, and small business men with a purely nega- 
tive resentment of their present condition. This majority 
does not as yet connect its deep hunger for an improve- 
ment of their abysmally depressed condition with the 
political system of democracy. They think of democracy 
in terms of corrupt political parties owned by the great 
trusts and big landlords. They have as yet no concept 
of the possibilities of democracy in its full Lincolnian 
sense: government of, by and for the people. 

If these implications and possibilities of popular rule 
had been developed in the poll of the Saipan civilians, 
it almost certainly would have produced a larger pro- 
portion in favor of democracy for Japan. 

Even a small minority favoring democracy is a tribute 
to popular resistance to the pressures of military fascism. 
For upwards of half a century the Japanese have been 
subjected to an unending stream of all-pervading propa- 
ganda extolling imperial sovereignty against sovereignty 
of the people. They have been inculcated with the idea 
that their "spiritual superiority" was due to their pos- 
session of a "heaven-descended" monarchy. On the other 
hand, Japanese governmental and semiofficial propa- 
ganda has ridiculed the democracies as soft, effete, selfish 
and "spiritually weak." Furthermore, during the 'twen- 
ties, the major political parties which pretended to favor 
democracy had turned out to be corrupt tools of the 
giant trusts, and police terror made it extremely difficult 


to support any political party closer to the needs of the 
people. For even a minority to retain a belief in democ- 
racy under these circumstances is a tribute to the strength 
of the belief. 


The existence of this minority of conscious opponents 
of the old regime can be of inestimable value to the oc- 
cupying authorities. Although these authorities have su- 
preme power during the period of occupation, the actual 
execution of our policies must necessarily be carried out 
by Japanese. If this democratic minority did not exist we 
would be forced to choose the least objectionable of the 
old regime's officials to work with those who would 
be least likely to sabotage Allied occupation policies. The 
existence of a democratic minority enables us to select 
administrators from among those in sympathy with the 
Allies and desirous not of retaining the old regime but of 
diverting Japan into peaceful and democratic paths. 

In addition to the professionally trained democrats 
who will be needed for positions requiring their skills, 
other friendly antimilitarists can be of great service as a 
bridge between our forces and the Japanese population. 
We have already had indications of how helpful this 
can be, one of the most interesting examples occurring 
during the period of the final pacification of Guam. 

The American marines assigned to completing the 
pacification of the island used two techniques. One was 
the usual one of wiping out the holed-up survivors with 
rifles, machine guns and flame throwers. The other was 
completely different it was psychological warfare 
aimed at inducing the Japanese to surrender. 

The psychological warfare outfit was headed by two 


navy lieutenants, Lieutenant William Jones and Lieu- 
tenant John Oliver. On Guam they were the originators, 
producers and directors of a sound-truck show with 
which they toured the jungle country where the Japa- 
nese were hiding out. It wasn't a riskless job. They had 
an eight-man marine guard on the alert for ambushes; 
more than once they were fired upon by Japanese die- 

The star of this show was a Japanese captive nick- 
named "Taki." He didn't exactly belong to the aristoc- 
racy. He had been a civilian attached to the Japanese 
army, with the job of supervising the feminine inmates 
of the "consolation-houses" whom that army had re- 
cruited in Japan and Korea. Taki had previously been a 
small business man driven out of his business by the 
government-sponsored activities of a "Laibatsu concern. 
After capture he volunteered for the risky job of going 
out as an announcer with the sound truck to induce the 
remaining Japanese to surrender. His collaboration with 
our forces was a means of getting back at a society which 
deprived him of what he considered to be his just rights. 

With Taki went another volunteer who had been a 
sergeant major in the Japanese army before his own 

Once the sound truck, with its prisoner volunteers, 
marine guard and navy language-officers reached its daily 
destination, the marine guards would deploy to prevent 
ambush and Taki would go into his act. For hours, 
spelled only briefly by the sergeant major, Taki called 
upon the Japanese in the jungle to surrender. He told 
them that it was not a disgrace to surrender and that 
further resistance was useless. He gave them the latest 
news of American landings and victories. He took verbal 
swipes at bushido and stressed the futility of fighting f OJF 


the Emperor in a war which was already practically lost. 
The glory of dying in battle was nonsense, he shouted. 
"Bushido is dead," he declared, "there will be no bushido 
in the next generation." 

Because he was Japanese himself he could more easily 
persuade them that they would get humane treatment 
from the Americans, instead of the torture and death 
which propaganda had led them to expect. He told them 
that they would get good food and medical treatment. 
"It must be nice to be hungry and get shot and live like 
animals," he would say sarcastically. "Maybe you would 
not like to be given food and American cigarettes, and 
American doctors if you are sick. Maybe you would like 
to stay in the jungle and be wounded and killed." 

Many prisoners were captured through ^the use of 
these two antirnilitarists. A minority? Definitely. But a 
minority of great value. 


Time and again in Europe we have been surprised at 
the great rapidity with which democratic and antifascist 
groups have developed once the tight band of repression 
is broken. With regard to Italy, hardly any of the Anglo- 
American experts would admit to the existence of any 
substantial number of antifascists up to the very fall of 
Mussolini. And then, when the opportunity presented 
itself, the antifascists not only appeared, but grew with 
what some considered embarrassing rapidity. 

Those Japanese advocating a program of democracy 
and social reform have one great advantage over their 
German counterparts. The mass of the Japanese people 
have not at any time benefited economically from the 
war, When Nazi conquests were at their height, many a 


German family received a pound of butter a week from 
its soldier son in Denmark or Norway. Or perhaps it was 
bacon from Holland, silk stockings from France, sweat- 
ers from Belgium or shoes from Czechoslovakia. The 
poorest German peasant could get an Eastern slave to do 
the dirty work on the farm for ten marks. In short, Ger- 
mans lived on the loot of all Europe. 

But for the common man in Japan there have been no 
material advantages from the war. The army has lived off 
the countryside in China and the southern regions but 
there has been hardly any loot in luxury or consumer 
goods to ship back, or the shipping in which to transport 
it. And the small amount which did come went into the 
hands of ranking militarists and Zaibatsu families and did 
not filter down to the middle or lower classes. The giant 
Japanese trusts have gained through the exploitation of 
the southern region's raw materials, but the products 
have generally been war goods and the great mass of the 
people remained on a bare subsistence level. Ealrly in the 
war Japan's critical shipping shortage made it impossible 
to import any large quantities of rice. Similarly, the short- 
age of fuel, small ships and manpower ate into the Japa- 
nese fishing fleet and reduced the fishing catch. By the 
autumn of 1944 large numbers in Japan made the transi- 
tion from bare subsistence to slow starvation. The fact 
that the vast majority of Japanese profited not at all from 
aggression is of great importance for the future. They 
will have no "good old days" of material prosperity from 
conquests to look back to and even a slight improvement 
over their subsistence living as a result of the reforms of 
a democratic government is likely to win their ap- 

Further evidence of the democratic potential can be 
gleaned from a study of the Japanese prisoners. German 


prisoners generally surrender much more easily, but 
for the most part they remain arrogant and insolent, 
contemptuous of the considerate treatment they are ac- 
corded. Among the Japanese captives, most are fright- 
ened at the outset, having been convinced by the Japa- 
nese authorities that we would torture and loll them. 
After the initial period of decent treatment, a minority of 
incorrigible military fascists remains sullen and unco- 
operative. The majority are co-operative and grateful for 
decent treatment, although they are reluctant to express 
it if the fanatic militarists are around. Many express 
amazement and appreciation over the fact that they re- 
ceive as good rations as our own troops in forward areas. 

One of the most marked reactions of the Japanese 
captive has been toward the easy relation between offi- 
cers and men in the American army. The Japanese army 
is thoroughly imbued with the oppressive feudal class 
system. Not only are officers free to strike enlisted men, 
but sergeants customarily cuff corporals, and corporals 
slap privates. One captive Japanese non-com was over- 
come with admiration for the democracy in American 
military ranks when an American officer lit his cigarette 
for him; for a Japanese officer would never "degrade" 
himself by lighting the cigarette of a subordinate, much 
less that of a prisoner of war. 

It would seem, therefore, that the forces for democ- 
racy in Japan consist of two groups at different stages of 
advancement. The vanguard is a fairly small minority of 
those who are consciously and courageously antimilita- 
rist and strive for a new Japan in which democracy will 
be the keynote of its political, economic and social struc- 
ture. The great reservoir of democratic potential, how- 
ever, consists of that group which, as a result of long 
years of indoctrination, does not as yet favor political 


democracy but desires the better living standards, free- 
dom of expression and reduction in social distinctions 
which come with popular rule. 

In view of this situation, the enlightened self -Interest 
of the United Nations would seem to dictate twin ac- 

The first is to rely for our Japanese administrators on 
those with a consistent record of opposition to militarism. 
We shall be building upon sand if we depend on turncoat 
opportunists who collaborated unhesitatingly with the 
militarists and fascists so long as the going was good and 
then sought to get out from under by repudiating their 
leaders in defeat. In other words, we should look more to 
the political prisons than to the countinghouses for the 
future leaders of Japan. 

The second course of action should be to facilitate the 
efforts being made by Japan's conscious democrats to 
harness the power of discontent to a broad movement ca- 
pable of carrying through the required purification and 
the construction of a new Japan upon new foundations. 



One of the most intriguing bits of political 
intelligence to come out of Japan during the course of 
the war was the revelation on June 27, 1944 that Yukio 
Ozaki, Japan's greatest democratic spokesman, had been 
acquitted by the Supreme Court of charges of Use- 
majeste. According to Domei, this decision reversed a 
previous ruling rendered by a lower court under which 
the eighty-five-year-old Ozaki was convicted and sen- 
tenced to eight months' imprisonment, the sentence to 
take effect after two years. Ozaki had been "accused for 
a statement made during the course of a political cam- 
paign speech in April, 1942." The authorities apparently 
felt that if Ozaki were to die in prison he would become 
a martyr for the few but persistent Liberal opponents of 
the regime. 

This action was more than a tribute to the courage 
and popularity of a veteran democrat. For Ozaki is more 
than an individual Rather, he is the symbol of a whole 
stream of Japanese political life. 


During the 'eighties Ozaki was one of a group of 
young men leading a movement whose, profound impor- 
tance is little known either in Japan or in jthe outside 
world. This was the "Freedom and People's Rights 
Movement" (Jiyu minken undo) and its purpose was to 
broaden the limited technical, governmental and eco- 
nomic reforms of the Meiji period into a thoroughgoing 


democratic and antif eudal reformation like the American 
and French Revolutions. 

It is not at all surprising that in the Western world 
little is known of this dramatic movement. Actually the 
names of important liberal leaders and theoreticians are 
scarcely known even in Japan, except for a limited circle 
of political and constitutional historians. The reason for 
this is that official circles in Japan have made a deliberate 
effort to obscure and distort Japan's early struggle for 

The democratic agitation, which reached its high- 
water mark in the years 1880 to 1885, was a broad move- 
ment embracing wide and varied classes and for a brief 
period constituted a serious challenge to the autocracy. 
Its criticism of Japanese society and government policy 
was incisive and it appealed to the most enlightened mem- 
bers of the former samurai class, the small merchants who 
complained of "taxation without representation" and the 
small farmers who were overburdened by taxation, rent 
and interest charges. By 1881 this democratic agitation 
had swept through the large centers of the country and 
was causing the government grave concern. 

There were two parties spearheading this democratic 
movement: the Liberal Party (Jiyuto) and the Progres- 
sive Party (Kaishinto). The Liberal Party was the more 
dynamic, with a program more closely keyed to the 
needs of the populace, and therefore it had a wider fol- 
lowing. Its leader was Taisuke Itagaki, but its theoretician 
and tactician was Emori Ueki, who might be called the 
Torn Paine of the Japanese democratic movement. 

Ueki, like Paine, defended the principles of the French 
Revolution, though he was careful not to claim baldly 
that republicanism was necessarily suitable to Japan. He 
favored a thorough democratic renovation, including 


the introduction of representative institutions based on 
universal suffrage and a bill of civil rights. He advocated 
parliamentary control of finance, the full control of the 
army by the civil government and the right of an elective 
assembly to impeach any minister of state. Ueki wrote: 
"The Japanese State must not pass any law which de- 
creases in any way the free rights of an individual Jap- 


The intoxicating ideas of a liberal democracy propa- 
gated by the followers of Ueki created a ferment among 
the poorer classes, particularly in Kochi Prefecture in 
Shikoku, where the Liberal Party was most active. One 
of the most interesting glimpses of this ferment is pro- 
vided in a contemporary newspaper account, translated 
by the brilliant young Canadian scholar E. Herbert Nor- 
man in his recent study Feudal Background of Japanese 
Politics. It is a report of a meeting held on June 10, 1881 
with Taisuke Itagaki, the leader of the Liberal Party, as 
the main speaker: 

. . . Itagaki spoke and as usual there was great applause 
and cries of approval through the building, but when this 
had died down, two sturdy workmen wearing blue denim 
(their names were Umaji and Ushitaro) jumped up on the 
platform and commenced to speak in favor of social equality 
and their words were spoken with such vehemence and 
passion that they put to shame the Russian nihilists. The 
audience looked at them with amazement because it ap- 
peared that they were not members of the audience but 
two of the cooks who worked in the kitchen of the hall in 
which the meeting was being held. 

Itagaki was moved so much by the strong feeling of the 
plebeian class revealed here in which they understood the 
changed situation in which Japan found itself that he again 
got up to speak and greatly stirred the emotions of the audi- 


ence. The people of Kochi prefecture are most earnest In 
disseminating the principles of democracy and if even those 
who perform the task of preparing food can speak with 
such eloquence on the rights of social equality and display 
such feelings and passion it goes without saying what 
strength the principles of our party [the Liberal Party] 
have in this prefecture. . . , 

That the Meiji oligarchy felt apprehension over such 
developments was indicated by an attack on the demo- 
crats made by Marquis Sasaki a few years later, when he 
was Vice-President of the Japanese Senate: "In the pres- 
ent day such extreme people as those who shout and cry 
out to the populace about people's rights are disturbing 
the Empire by their pens and tongues. ... [If] these 
violent extremists, this whole group of perfidious rascals, 
had attained their purpose then unavoidably it would 
have meant introducing the French Revolution into the 
country; a constitution of which we would bitterly re- 
pent would have been established." 

The Progressive Party provided another sharp thorn 
in the side of the Tokyo autocrats. This did not appeal 
as strongly to the populace as the Liberal Party but ad- 
vocated moderate reforms on behalf of out-of-office 
bureaucrats, the city intelligentsia and some of the promi- 
nent merchants and industrialists, notably the Mitsu- 
bishi firm. During the 'eighties perhaps the most conten- 
tious subject was the problem of sovereignty. The Lib- 
eral Party declared that sovereignty lay with the people, 
while the Progressive Party declared that sovereignty lay 
jointly in the throne and the people's representatives. The 
oligarchy, of course, held that it was inalienably attached 
to the Emperor's person. 

It was in the Progressive Party that Yukio Ozaki got 
his first experience in politics, as a protege of Count 


Shigenobu Okuma, founder of the party. Count Okuma 
was fundamentally an opportunist who, when out of 
office, became a liberal as a means of attracting popular 
support. Despite Okuma' s personal opportunism, many 
of his followers in the Progressive Party were sincerely 
and courageously liberal The form which the opposi- 
tion of both the Progressive and Liberal parties to the 
ruling autocracy took was primarily propagandist. They 
eschewed terrorism and violent Putsch tactics and uti- 
lized political meetings, pamphlets and newspapers in- 
stead as their most important means of reaching the 
people. During the early period of his political activity, 
Ozaki was primarily a newspaperman and he became 
successively the editor of the Niigata Shimbun, the Hochi 
and later the Choya Shimbun, which under his editorship 
became the most important Japanese journal champion- 
ing the liberal viewpoint. In 1875 the government struck 
hard at these first beginnings of democratic agitation by 
passing a new press law and a new libel law. A reign of 
terror was inaugurated against journalists and other ad- 
vocates of liberalism. During July 1875 every editor in 
Tokyo was arrested at least once and either imprisoned 
or heavily fined. 

But this did not stop the flow of newspapers and 
pamphlets opposing the oligarchy. In 1882 the already 
stringent press laws were further tightened. In 1883 
forty-nine newspapers were suspended altogether. In the 
next few years restrictions were made still harsher, cul- 
minating in the notorious Peace Preservation Law of 
1887, an act specifically designed to rid Tokyo of liberal 
leaders. As a result, 570 liberals, including Ozaki, were 
driven out of Tokyo. 



After a tour of Europe and America, Ozaki returned 
to Japan to begin one of the most remarkable legislative 
careers in any country. He was elected to the Diet from 
Miye Prefecture in 1890, and has been elected to every 
successive Diet since that time from the same prefecture. 
Under the Japanese constitution, the Diet's powers were 
severely restricted, and parliamentary leaders could at 
best be little more than spokesmen of public opinion. 
Ozaki was precisely this, utilizing his seat to play the role 
of "tribune of the people." He also capitalized on his 
close connections with Count Okuma to improve his 
position in the government. When the latter became 
Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1897, Ozaki became Coun- 
cilor of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, and subsequently 
served as Minister of Education in the Okuma govern- 
ment of 1898. He did not, however, allow this position 
to interfere with his championing of popular rights, and 
actually caused the downfall of the Okuma government 
in that year by an attack on the power of the great trusts 
in the Japanese government, an act which took consider- 
able political courage because Count Okuma, his politi- 
cal sponsor, was a spokesman for Mitsubishi. Ozaki was 
severely criticized for his action, and the Okuma Cabinet 
was compelled to resign. 

In 1913 Ozaki launched the "Movement for the De- 
fense of Constitutional Politics" in collaboration with 
Tsuyoshi Inukai, who later became Prime Minister and 
was assassinated by military extremists in the May Fif- 
teenth Incident in 1932. It was in connection with this 
movement to convert Japan into a parliamentary democ- 
racy that Ozaki won the title "God of Constitutional 



The impact of the World War and the Russian Revo- 
lution created a considerable political ferment m Japan. 
Socialist thought made heavy inroads among the intel- 
lectuals and particularly among the industrial laborers 
At the same time there was a considerable upsurge of 
democratic ideology in middle-class intellectual circles, 
partly as a result of the wide influence of Wilsoman ideal- 
ism. Wilson's attacks on Prussian autocracy and Prus- 
sian militarism were considered by many to be equally 
applicable to Japan's autocrats and militarists. 

Liberalism was widespread among Japanese journalists 
and in some cases was reflected in the attitudes of impor- 
tant newspapers. For many years the Osaka Asalil and 
its sister journal, the Tokyo Asahi, were fairly consistent 
upholders of democratic ideas. They criticized the gov- 
erning oligarchy and its aggressive militarism and, in 
1918, resolutely opposed Japan's intervention in Siberia. 
These attitudes were most objectionable to the militarist 
autocrats ruling Japan, and when the Osaka Asahi pro- 
tested against the suppression of the news of the momen- 
tous rice riots in 1918, the paper was indicted for dis- 
turbing the public peace. The trial was held in secret ses- 
sion and the court ordered the Asahi to disclaim its lib- 
eral views, to print a public apology for its opposition to 
the government and to dismiss nine members of its staff 
who were suspected of favoring the establishment of a 
republican government for Japan. The president of the 
company publishing the paper was forced to retire tem- 
porarily as a means of demonstrating his contriteness for 
the liberalism of his paper. 

The staff of the Tokyo Asahi thereupon showed its 


distaste for the retreat of the Osaka paper. They pub- 
lished a manifesto of protest against the "craven attitude" 
of the Osaka journal. They warned that there was an at- 
tempt to foist the same "belated ideas of militarists and 
bureaucrats" upon the Tokyo paper as well and attacked 
the "despicable actions of the Tokyo colleagues who seek 
to curry favor by truckling to the wishes of the bureau- 
crats." The men responsible for this manifesto, the entire 
political and economic staff of the Tokyo paper, there- 
upon resigned en masse. 

Political ferment and democratic ideas were even more 
widespread in academic circles. It required considerable 
courage for Japanese college and university students to 
be interested in nontraditional ideas. Entrance to col- 
leges and universities in Japan is extremely difficult and 
comes only after severe competitive examinations. At the 
same time, success in Japanese communities depends to an 
unparalleled degree upon the possession of a college 
diploma. Therefore there was considerable pressure upon 
the students to "stay out of trouble" by staying away 
from all nontraditional ideas. 

Despite this pressure and despite close government 
supervision the schools became centers of democratic 
thought. The bulletin boards of all the universities were 
filled with notices of new societies to study "soci- 
ology." All were viewed with grave suspicion by the 
authorities. An official order from the Minister of Edu- 
cation in April 1926 prohibited the formation or the 
meeting of any such societies, forbade even the private 
reading or discussion of "studies concerning dangerous 
thoughts," and refused permission for the holding of any 
inter-university conferences on social studies. The oldest 
and one of the most influential universities did not per- 


mit its students to draw books from its well-stocked li- 
braries until their senior year, and then only in connec- 
tion with the subjects of their graduation theses. 

Some of the attempts to control student opinion were 
somewhat ludicrous. In February 1926 for example the 
Tokyo police grilled officials of Phi Beta Kappa on the 
suspicion that the society was radical. The police sus- 
picions were apparently aroused by the fact that the 
group had a Greek name, but no Greeks were mem- 

Despite close police supervision some of the coura- 
geous democratic intellectuals managed to level some ef- 
fective blows against the traditional ideas propagated by 
the governing oligarchy. One of the most telling attacks 
of this sort was an article under the innocuous title "The 
Ethical Significance of Worship at the Shrines," which 
appeared in the December 1920 issue of Chtio Koran* 
The author was the liberal Dr. Sakuzo Yoshino, a profes- 
sor at Tokyo Imperial University and a leader of the New 
Man Society (Shinjinkai) . In the article Dr. Yoshino 
struck an indirect but telling blow at the institution 
of deifying dead warriors by telling of a case which had 
occurred in the family of a friend. The father had been 
asked by one of his children why the souls of dead sol- 
diers were enshrined at Yasukuni Shrine. He answered 
that it was because they had given their lives for their 
Emperor. The child then asked if a servant who had been 
employed in their home and who had lost his life in the 
war was enshrined there. The father replied that he was; 
that this former servant had died in battle and accord- 
ingly his spirit was enshrined at Yasukuni. The child 
knew that this person was a particularly bad character. 
He had lied, dissipated and had been an outright thief. 
The father finally convinced the child that no matter 


how bad a person he had been, if he died in battle, his 
former sins were blotted out and he became a god worthy 
of the worship of the best living Japanese. But after he 
had convinced the child, the father himself was troubled 
by the influence of this incident on his child. He felt 
that the example of a bad person who had been elevated 
to the ranks of a deity was a poor influence for the moral 
education of the young. 

So lasting an impression was made by this somewhat 
indirect attack that even eighteen years later it was the 
target of violent criticism. In its issue of September 18, 
1938, the Teikoku Shimpo, an influential Tokyo news- 
paper, resurrected this article and made a vigorous at- 
tack upon it. 

The author of this article, Dr. Yoshino, was not the 
only liberal on the staff of the Tokyo Imperial Univer- 
sity. The social science faculty had a number of profes- 
sors with a democratic outlook and some who were fairly 
radical. Professor Morito, of the Department of Eco- 
nomics, was dismissed from his position and sentenced 
to a brief term in jail in 1920. His crime was an article 
entitled "A Study of the Social Thought of Kropotkin" 
which he wrote for the journal Economic Research 
(Keizaigaku Kenkyu) published by the University. The 
police declared that the article tended to propagate the 
anarchistic views of Kropotkin. Mass meetings were held 
protesting the attack on Professor Morito as a threat to 
freedom of thought. Within a short time the leading 
bookstore in Tokyo was entirely cleared of Kropotkin's 
writings by students eager to read what the police had 
forbidden. In the months that followed, various mag- 
azines published articles on Kropotkin and the suppres- 
sion of issues of four magazines resulted. 

Other more cautious professors in the Tokyo Imperial 


University, Kelo University and elsewhere managed to 
evoke democratic thoughts and critical and rational atti- 
tudes in their students without provoking suspension or 
police action. As a result of the activities of these liberal 
and leftist teachers, the most liberal strain in the edu- 
cated middle classes is to be found today among those 
who received their university training in the 'twenties, 
particularly at the Tokyo Imperial University. 

During the liberal resurgence of the 'twenties, Yukio 
Ozald remained the outstanding political spokesman of 
antimilitarist, democratic thought. In February 1921 he 
introduced a resolution in the lower house of the Diet 
demanding a reduction of naval armaments in concert 
with Great Britain and the United States, in accordance 
with the provisions of the Covenant of the League of 
Nations. He publicly opposed the Peace Preservation 
Laws of 1925 and 1928, which imposed even more 
drastic restrictions upon "dangerous thoughts." 

What is more important, however, is the fact that he 
continued to work and speak openly for peace in the 
1930's when it had become physically dangerous to do 
so. In 1932, while traveling abroad, Ozald declared that 
it was a "high act of nonsense to suggest that Manchu- 
kuo had been formed by the free will of the people.'' He 
repeated this point of view in 1935 in an article in the 
magazine Kaizo, entitled "Reflections on Contemporary 
Politics." In this article he also supported disarmament, 
and, apropos of Manchuria, declared that small countries 
might legitimately ask international intervention for their 

For this and other fearless statements, one of Japan's 
numerous terrorist organizations warned him that his life 
was in danger. Ozaki commented on this threat in a 
letter to his son: "Assassination is now much in vogue in 


Japan and any patriotic expression of opinion may ex- 
pose me to danger. . . . For a public man the best form 
of death is to fall victim to the cold hand of an assassin. 
Mr. Inukai, my old friend, was killed in his official resi- 
dence. I could not help envying him; it was a death befit- 
ting a statesman." 

Ozaki was not alone in his continued resistance to 
military fascism. In 1933 for example, Yokitatsu Taki- 
kawa was dismissed from his post as professor of politics 
at Kyoto Imperial University Law School for declaring 
that the laws In any country were conditioned by its 
economic structure. Every other professor in the Law 
School resigned In protest. The Kyoto University stu- 
dents remained away from classes; and when 6000 stu- 
dents of Tokyo Imperial University also walked out, 
the Japanese higher educational system experienced its 
first sympathetic strike. Many student leaders were ar- 
rested, but in that same year 800 Tokyo University stu- 
dents demonstrated in protest against the "imperialist 
war" In China. 

In view of the unparalleled extent to which a univer- 
sity degree is essential for future success in Japan, this 
continued opposition on the part of university students 
to the government's repressive measures takes on added 
significance. That so many students, many of them from 
prominent families, were willing to sacrifice their hopes 
for a career in politics or business by engaging in "radi- 
cal activities" was strong indication that the reactionary 
rulers of Japan had not succeeded in crushing all poten- 
tial democratic leadership. 

The election of February 1936 gave a renewed indi- 
cation of popular resistance to the steady drift toward 
military fascism. Fascism was the central issue in this 
campaign. The Minseito, the more moderate of the two 


major parties, had as its election slogan: "Which shall it 
be parliamentary government or fascism?" The Social 
Mass Party, a moderate labor party headed by professors, 
lawyers and publicists, and supported by the bulk of the 
trade unions, took an even stronger stand against the 
drift toward fascism and war. The public showed an 
extremely active interest in the election: 1 1,100,000 votes 
were cast, representing some 80 per cent of the electo- 

Virtually every feature of the election "returns demon- 
strated the strength of the antifascist tide in the electo- 
rate. The Minseito replaced the warlike Seiyukai as the 
largest party by a considerable margin. The Social Mass 
Party picked up fifteen seats, rising from three to eight- 
een. Most of the successful independents were liberals, 
including the veteran Yukio Ozaki. An unusually large 
number of military fascist candidates stood for election; 
most of them suffered disastrous defeats. 

It was this demonstration of widespread opposition to 
war and fascism which precipitated, just six days after 
the election, the military fascist uprising of February 26, 
1936, the largest and bloodiest coup d'etat which Japan 
had yet witnessed. Ozaki was one of those listed for as- 
sassination but managed to survive. Although this revolt 
did not succeed it was a warning of the lengths to which 
the military extremists were willing to go. 

In the general elections of April 30, 1937, a bare ten 
weeks before Japan again invaded China, the drift to- 
ward military fascism was again an issue. The conditions 
under which the elections were held are indicated by the 
government's orders to prefectural chiefs of police to 
prohibit "utterances liable to alienate the people from 
the army" during the campaign. These were defined as 
statements "charging the military with trying to provoke 


a war, alleging that the fighting services mean to reject 
the parliamentary system, arousing suspicion about 
obedience to orders in the services, or affecting the atti- 
tude of the people toward the conscription system." The 
outstanding result of these elections was the great in- 
crease In the vote of the Social Mass Party. It became the 
third largest party, polling nearly a million votes as a 
consequence of Its vigorous antifascist election cam- 
paign. This development caused considerable concern in 
ruling circles, and the decision to attack China was made 
partly with a view to using a war "emergency" as an 
excuse to liquidate opposition at home. 

After the Invasion of China In July 1937, Japan's ruling 
oligarchy moved with ruthless thoroughness to suppress 
all domestic opposition. Under Admiral Nobumasa Suet- 
sugu, fire-eating Home Minister in Prince Konoye's first 
Cabinet, wholesale arrests of liberals, pacifists and radi- 
cals were conducted. In December 1937, almost 400 men 
and women In the collegiate world were arrested and ac- 
cused of being members of a "popular front" movement. 
All mention of these arrests by the press was stringently 
prohibited for a month. This was followed In January 
1938 by a hundred more arrests for no crime except that 
of holding liberal opinions. Baroness Ishimoto, prominent 
feminist known for her liberal-minded autobiography, 
Facing Two Ways, was also arrested. A number of the 
academic people arrested were charged with the heinous 
offense of "humanitarianism"! 

"Liberalism must go!" the Home Minister proclaimed 
in the Diet. The Dean of the Economics Department of 
Tokyo Imperial University, angered because his col- 
leagues would not vote to discharge, without honor, one 
of the professors implicated in the liberal purge, resigned. 
In mid-February, 5000 students in Tokyo alone were 


arrested for "not taking the [Chinese war] Emergency 

The severity of police repression after the beginning 
of the war in China increasingly placed liberals in five 
general categories. Some were in prison; others worked 
underground; the largest group was silent; some recanted 
their liberal views; only a, rare few individuals continued 
to oppose openly the drive toward militarist dictatorship 
and war. 

Perhaps the most dramatic of the rear-guard actions 
conducted by Japanese democrats in the period between 
the outbreak of the China Incident and the attack on 
Pearl Harbor was that of a veteran Diet member, Takao 
Saito. He had shown his courage once before in the 
spring of 1936, soon after the military fascist Putsch of 
February 26, when he made a fiery attack on army 
activities and defended pailiamentarianism, On February 
2, 1940, he again mounted the rostrum in the House of 
Representatives and this time leveled a violent attack at 
the whole Japanese war effort in China. He demanded to 
know what the Japanese people had received for their 
great sacrifices in China. Under the "cloak" of a holy 
war, Saito accused, the army had drawn the nation into 
a conflict which it could not conclude. He demanded 
that negotiations with Chiang Kai-shek be opened to 
terminate a futile and costly undertaking. This was the 
first vigorous parliamentary outburst against militarism 
since the invasion of China, and the army's political 
henchmen made every effort to see that it was not re- 
peated. Three fourths of the bold speech were ex- 
punged from the official record. The Minseito, of which 
Saito had been an outstanding member for many years, 
disowned him and compelled him to resign from the 
party. A servile Diet voted his expulsion from the cham- 


her. Ozald was left as one of the few who continued to 
criticize the policies of the autocracy, and he was one 
of the few political leaders with the courage to maintain 

this attitude even after December 7, 1941. 


On the day that Pearl Harbor was attacked, the Japa- 
nese police arrested an estimated 3000 suspected oppo- 
nents of the war, apparently hoping with one blow to 
wipe out the last remnants of resistance. But despite 
these arrests, and the additional restrictions that came 
with all-out war, the forces of liberal resistance again 
made themselves felt. 

There is no evidence of any such activity, however, 
between December 1941 and March 1942, when the un- 
expected strength of the Japanese armed forces probably 
discouraged the resistance forces considerably. The first 
Important indication of the survival of antimilitarist 
feeling among moderate democrats came with the re- 
election of Yukio Ozaki in the elections of April 1942. 
Ozald's previous success at every election since 1890 
was a record unparalleled in Japan, and perhaps in the 
world. But the crowning glory of his political life, and 
a striking evidence of the hardihood of Japanese liberal- 
Ism, was his victory In 1942. In order to appreciate the 
character of this victory, it Is necessary to recall the 
circumstances under which Ozaki was re-elected. The 
1942 election was held on April 30, after the fall of Singa- 
pore and at the height of Japan's military victories. Al- 
most all of the few "moderates" who had still remained 
hesitant about the tactics of the militarists up to the out- 
break of the war were deeply impressed by the amazing 
successes of the military forces, and were hastily climb- 
ing on the Tojo bandwagon. 


This was the first election Japan had had since 1937, 
and was rigorously regulated by the Imperial Rule As- 
sistance Political Society, one of whose chief functions 
is to ensure the defeat of candidates such as Ozaki. It 
issues a list of "approved" candidates; naturally Ozaki 
was excluded. Many broadcasts were made to the Japa- 
nese people warning them to be careful of their conduct 
during the campaign. A Japanese domestic broadcast on 
April 6, 1942 stated that "careful watch must be kept on 
speeches which might encourage dissatisfaction toward 
the policy of Japan, unnecessary criticisms of wartime 
policy, difficulties during wartime, or criticisms directed 
to the social problems in relation to the economic hard- 
ships due to the shortage of material/' 

Not only did the aged Ozaki seek re-election for him- 
self in the teeth of this bitter opposition, but he cam- 
paigned for Daikichiro Tagawa as well. Tagawa is of 
Ozaki's generation, being seventy-five years old, and has 
also had a distinguished record as a democratic leader. 
He has been an editor, Deputy Mayor of Tokyo, and 
Secretary of the Department of Justice, and had been 
elected to the Diet eight times previous to his candidacy 
in 1942. Like Ozaki he was anathema to the militarists. 
He had been imprisoned for five months during the last 
war for lese-majeste for having stated that the choice of 
Count Terauchi as Premier in 1916 had been made by 
the Elder Statesmen and not by the untrammeled de- 
cision of the Emperor. In 1940 Tagawa was "disciplined" 
for disobeying military regulations, but on this occasion 
his sentence was suspended. 

In the middle of his campaign for re-election, Ozaki 
was charged with le$e-maje$te for a statement he al- 
legedly made in support of the candidacy of Tagawa. 
Despite this charge and other attempts to intimidate the 


voters, he was re-elected from Miye Prefecture with a 
total of 14,525 votes. Tagawa polled 9274 votes in the 
third Tokyo district, but this was not sufficient to elect 
him. These were the officially announced figures and it is 
possible that the actual votes were higher, because there 
was extensive ballot-box stuffing during the election. 
This was so flagrant in the Second District of Kagoshima, 
for example, that the election of four members to the 
lower house of the Diet was later declared null and void. 
In April 1943 Major General Nasu, Chief of the Mili- 
tary Affairs Bureau of the War Ministry, told a con- 
ference of prefectural governors, in a speech reported 
in the Tokyo Mainichi Shimbun, that individualistic and 
liberalistic words and actions still remaining in some sec- 
tions of society gave rise to anti-army ideas. He de- 
clared that resolute action would be taken against any 
plots aimed at disseminating ideas estranging the army 
and the people and plotting to bring about the internal 
disintegration of the army. 

In the summer of 1943 General To jo gave further 
evidence of the existence of organized discontent when 
he instructed prefectural governors that "People should 
not express anxiety and dissatisfaction" and banned all 
political meetings save those sponsored by the govern- 
ment itself. In October 1943 the official Dai Nippon Press 
Association warned that "all antinational movements will 
be crushed." 

One of the most surprising revelations of the develop- 
ment of dissatisfaction among Japanese intellectuals was 
disclosed with the news that the leading intellectual 
magazines Kaizo (Reconstruction) and Chuo Koron 
(Central Review), publications analogous to Harper's 
and the Atlantic Monthly in this country, had been 
banned in the spring of 1944. Domei reported on June 


27, 1944, that Kaizo had discontinued publication after 
twenty-six years, but gave no explanation for the move 
at the time. Two weeks later Radio Tokyo revealed that 
the Japanese Board of Information had suspended all pub- 
lications of two of Japan's leading publishing houses, the 
Chuo Koron Publishing Company and the Kaizo Pub- 
lishing Company, because "their policies were incompat- 
ible with the proper guidance of public thought." The 
dispatch admitted that the two magazines, which were 
the most important publications of the two firms, had 
a long played an important role in guiding the intellectual 
world" of Japan, but declared that the decision to sus- 
pend them followed an "investigation" by the Board of 
Information which disclosed that they "had followed 
editorial policies, which, from the standpoint of leading 
public thinking in wartime, were difficult to tolerate." 

It was not until several months later that it was re- 
vealed by the Japanese People's Emancipation League 
that the specific article which provoked the suspension 
of Kaizo was a criticism by the nutrition expert, Zawa 
Sakara, of the rice, grain and vegetable porridge sold at 
the semiofficial restaurants. Sakara declared that this kind 
of diet is "not nutrition but fat." Criticism of this sort 
by an expert was extremely dangerous, because it con- 
firmed the suspicions of many that the government- 
sponsored diet was one of slow starvation. It is clear, 
however, that the Japanese authorities were not likely to 
ban an outstanding magazine because of a single article. 
There must have been a fairly deep-rooted resistance to 
militarism in these editorial circles if the government 
could not clear up the situation by jailing a few men but 
had to make public admission that the staffs of two lead- 
ing periodicals were at best lukewarm in their support of 
the war. 

The uneasiness of ruling groups about discontent in 
intellectual circles was further evidenced in the Diet 
sessions of early autumn, 1944. A Japanese-language dis- 
patch by Domel reported: "The House of Peers, taking 
a serious view of the trend of the people's thought in 
wartime, established a thought investigation committee 
within the House on August 26." On September 9, 
Yoshimi Fund, Director of the Police Bureau of the 
Ministry of Home Affairs, told the House of Repre- 
sentatives that "the government is prepared to place strict 
control over speech which is harmful to unity within the 
country. . . ." After the years of strenuous efforts by 
the Japanese police to wipe out any dissent, this statement 
must be considered an admission that these previous 
measures had not sufficed to suppress the rising tide of 

Further evidence in this direction was contributed by 
the Koiso government in March 1945 when it introduced 
legislation to suspend special elections. Special elections 
had been held since the general election of April 1942 
in order to fill the seats vacated by death and other 
causes. The government's desire to call a halt to this 
customary procedure apparently was dictated by the 
fear that mounting unrest might be reflected in the elec- 
tion campaigns. 

These direct and indirect indications of the per- 
sistence of a liberal opposition in Japan do not, of 
course, demonstrate the existence of a well-organized 
and effective democratic resistance. There is little doubt, 
however, that there are thousands of middle-class demo- 
crats to be found among the professional men, the edu- 
cated technicians, and the owners of small or medium 
businesses in Tokyo, Kobe, Osaka and other metro- 


politan centers. Probably the largest proportion of them 
is to be found among those who received their higher 
education in the 'twenties, when nontraditional thought 
was most widespread in the universities. It is probably- 
true that they have been unorganized and that most of 
them have preferred silence to imprisonment or some 
more severe penalty. But their very existence is of tre- 
mendous import to postwar Japan. 

Ozaki, Tagawa and Saito, as well as the lesser-known 
democrats, constitute a potential alternative for the 
leadership of postwar Japan to the so-called "moderates" 
in Japan's present ruling oligarchy. If Ozaki, Saito and 
Tagawa themselves are alive at the time of occupation, 
they will be eminently suitable to serve as Elder States- 
men. This would be a fitting final tribute to their op- 
position to militarism and fascist dictatorship and their 
advocacy of friendly relations with the United States 
and other nations. Their popularity among the people, 
already substantial, will undoubtedly be enhanced by 
the discrediting of the militarists they have so steadfastly 
opposed. And finally, their long records of devoted 
public service would render ineffectual any charge of 
"quisling" by their enemies. 

But it is to the younger democrats that we must look 
for the leadership of a new Japan and for the pro- 
fessional skills that Allied administrators will require 
during the period of military occupation. In this way 
we can help produce a genuinely antimilitarist leader- 
ship, capable of enlisting strong popular support in the 
postwar period. With our help, the democratic move- 
ment which was suppressed by the autocrats of another 
day can win out over the autocrats of today. 



In the summer of 1943 the Japanese Min- 
ister of Agriculture decreed: "Dissatisfaction in the 
villages must be wiped out . . ." 

Some time later it was suggested to one of the fore- 
most State Department pundits on Japanese affairs that 
agrarian discontent might be harnessed to a democratic 
movement in postwar Japan. He dismissed the idea 
rather contemptuously, declaring that the peasant is the 
most reactionary element in the population and virtually 
beyond redemption. 

There is, in actual fact, a considerable amount of evi- 
dence to support the picture of the Japanese peasant as 
a conservative. It is in the villages that there is the most 
respect for the shrines and gods and the greatest de- 
votion to the dynasty. Modern and foreign ideas have 
made considerably less progress among the peasantry 
than among urban dwellers. And the militarists have 
looked to the peasantry for their hardiest and most 
fanatic soldiers. 

But to dismiss the peasantry as beyond redemption is 
both pessimistic and dangerously incorrect. It is as 
superficial as the observations of another day which held 
that the Soviets couldn't possibly develop a mechanized 
agriculture or a mechanized army because the Russian 
muzhik was too tradition-bound ever to be able to use 
machinery. And if we persist in^the attitude that the 
Japanese peasant is hopelessly conservative we will 
probably miss our greatest opportunity of striking a 
devastating blow at three quarters of a century of 


promilitarist, antiforeign agitation and securing a major 
change in the attitude of the largest segment of the 
Japanese population. 

While it is true that he is a conservative in some re- 
spects, it is equally true that the Japanese peasant is an 
economic radical, for he strongly desires a fundamental 
change in his economic condition. Few countries have 
such a strong tradition of agrarian revolts, of pitched 
battles with the police. The peasant's mercurial char- 
acterpart radical, part conservative is a result of 
the terrific pressures built up by the agrarian crisis, a 
continuing crisis which is the most important factor in 
Japan's economic and political life. 

In the past, Japan's militarists have paid careful heed 
to this crisis. They have diverted the mounting pressure 
of peasant discontent and land hunger into zealous sup- 
port of foreign aggression. The results have been dis- 
astrous for the rest of the world. 

Agrarian pressures will mount even higher In the 
postwar period. The destruction of industry and trans- 
port in the final phases of the war, the scarcity of raw 
materials, the elimination of certain war industries and 
the temporary shutdown of others while being con- 
verted to peacetime production will all combine to 
throw many hundreds of thousands out of work. As in 
previous periods of mass unemployment, a large por- 
tion of these will go back to the villages of their origin, 
thereby adding to the burden on Japan's antiquated 
agrarian system. Therefore, it seems likely that unless it 
is understood and mastered, the dynamite-laden agrar- 
ian crisis may well explode in the faces of the occupation 

The agrarian crisis means more to us than the posing 
of an immediate problem in the early period of occu- 


patlon. A solution of the agrarian crisis is an essential 
prerequisite for a sound political and economic future 
for Japan. Agrarian reform must serve as the cornerstone 
for the reform of the entire political and economic life 
of the country on democratic lines. If political democ- 
racy is to have a real meaning it must have grass roots; 
it must be based on the peasant proprietor and tenant 
farmer. Furthermore, a sound economy In postwar 
Japan must have the foundation of an expanding in- 
ternal market, which again means the development of 
the peasant as a consumer. In short, the peasant is the 
key to Japan's future. 


The pervasive characteristic of the Japanese peasant is 
his extreme poverty and the tremendous effort re- 
quired to maintain himself and his family above the 
starvation level. Although Japan has been able to raise 
a first-rate military force, its living standards have never 
been better than fourth-rate. The lot of its peasant ma- 
jority is scarcely better than that of the colonial and 
nonindustrial areas of Asia. Most of the Japanese peas- 
antry have to render half or more of the harvest from 
their tiny farms as rent in kind to a landowner or as 
interest on a debt owed a usurer. They still cannot, for 
the most part, eat the rice they wrest from the soil 
by the difficult, unpleasant and unending hand labor of 
the entire family. Even at the best of times many have 
to live on millet, sweet potatoes and some imported rice 
of inferior quality. And during recurrent crises they 
are forced to sell their daughters to the brothels of the 
towns or send them as indentured laborers to the fac- 


Agrarian poverty Is due In some part to the limitations 
of natural resources. As a result of the mountainous char- 
acter of the country only 19 per cent of the land of 
Japan is arable, and only 15.5 per cent is actually culti- 
vated. Yet before the war almost half of the population 
was dependent upon agriculture for a livelihood. But 
although Japan's prospects for great agrarian prosper- 
ity are made dim by natural limitations of agricultural 
resources, its dire agrarian poverty is a product of a 
man-made system of semifeudal agriculture, a system of 
sharecropping and hand labor on small farms averaging 
two-and-a-half acres in size. Like many of Japan's eco- 
nomic, political or social problems, the problem of 
agriculture dates back to the Meiji government and its 
failure to eliminate feudalism on the land. 

Under the Shogunate, which preceded the Meiji 
Restoration of 1868, the peasantry lived in wretched 
poverty. One of the best descriptions of their lot is one 
by Kyugu Tanaka, who wrote in the nineteenth cen- 

These people whom we call peasants are no better than 
cattle or horses. The authorities pitilessly compel them to 
pay heavy taxes; they are the objects of a most onerous 
corvee, but they have nothing to say about it. We hear of 
many cases where they lose all their fortune, sell their wives 
and children and suffer all sorts of violence or are even 
put to death. They pass their whole life enduring blows 
and insults. . . . Petty officials lord it over them so that 
the peasant cringes before their threatening stare. . . . The 
arrogant behavior of these officials is like that of a heartless 
driver of some horse or ox; after loading it down with a 
great weight he proceeds to rain blows upon it; then when 
it stumbles he becomes more and more angry, cursing it 
loudly and striking it even with greater force such is the 
fate of the peasant. 


The peasantry did not remain inert. Some 1100 
peasant revolts are recorded in the last two and a half 
centuries of the Shogunate. It was the mounting cres- 
cendo of peasant revolts which shook the country from 
within, coupled with the foreign guns which threatened 
it from without, that enabled the Meiji forces to over- 
throw the Shogunate in 1868. With the Restoration 
hopes arose among the peasants that now their burden 
of tribute and debt would be lightened. Furthermore, 
promises were held out by the new government that 
all state lands except temple lands would be divided 
up among the peasants. 

But the feudal aristocrats who dominated the Meiji 
oligarchy were not interested in improving the con- 
dition of the peasants. Their primary interest was in the 
rapid development of the strategic industries required 
to make Japan strong enough as a military power first 
to prevent foreign penetration and then to join in the 
scramble for loot then under way in the Western Pa- 
cific. The wealthy merchants of Japan, who were also 
part of the oligarchy, could not "raise the capital required 
for these industries because during the pre-Meiji period 
they had been cut off from foreign trade for two and 
a half centuries and hindered by other feudal restrictions 
and thus their opportunities to accumulate capital had 
been limited. Consequently a large part of the burden of 
industrialization and military preparation fell upon agri- 
culture, largely in the form of a land tax. 

The Meiji government converted the peasants from 
feudal serfs into independent cultivators, owning their 
own lands, but replaced the exactions of the feudal lord 
by a land tax which was at least as difficult to bear. 
Under feudalism the portion of the crop due to the land- 
lord was subject to some flexibility. In bad years a lord 


might not collect his full quota of tribute, for his maxim 
with regard to the peasants was to see that they "neither 
died nor lived." In the early years of the Meiji govern- 
ment, however, the extraordinarily high rate of agrarian 
exploitation which had prevailed under late feudalism 
about 60 to 70 per cent of the crop was legalized 
and strictly enforced regardless of circumstances. Fur- 
thermore this land tax had to be paid in cash, in rural 
regions where cash was scarce. When the tax payment 
fell due, the peasant had to barter a disproportionate 
amount of his crop in order to acquire cash. In many 
cases this did not leave him with enough food to feed 
his family for the remainder of the year and frequently 
he had to borrow at usurious rates of 30-40 per cent. 

As a result of the high land tax, currency fluctuations 
and usurious rates of interest, spectacular shifts of land 
ownership took place. Tens of thousands of peasants were 
dispossessed. In a score of years almost a third of the 
peasantry had suffered expropriation. 


A similar process of peasant expropriation had ac- 
companied the rise of capitalism in England in the eight- 
eenth century. Small owners who lacked the land or 
capital to keep pace with improved agricultural pro- 
duction for the market had been forced to sell out and 
move to the cities to man the growing new industries. 
As a result of the expropriation in England, however, 
the land was cultivated in larger plots with improved 
techniques, modern fertilizers, and finally agricultural 
machinery. In short, agriculture also became a capitalist 
enterprise. The owner invested his capital aad exploited 


the land for profit, employing agricultural laborers who 
worked for their wages. 

In Japan, agriculture never made the full transition 
from feudalism to capitalism, largely because of the 
high rent characteristic of Japanese landlordism. It was 
computed that in the mid 'thirties, for example, rents 
in Japan were seven times those of England, about three 
times those of Germany, about four times those of Italy 
and three times those of Denmark and Holland. 

As a result of this high rent absentee landlordism in 
Japan is a purely parasitic institution, since the land- 
lord contributes nothing to agricultural production, 
being interested exclusively in collecting rent. He has 
not been interested in driving off the old tenants or 
peasant proprietors for the sake of taking over the en- 
terprises himself and investing his capital. He has pre- 
ferred instead to leave the peasant household working its 
tiny farm with primitive but intensive methods for an 
exorbitant rent. He can let out land and receive in re- 
turn more than half the produce without investing any 
liquid capital or running any risk. 

Despite Japan's limited arable area, there is an amaz- 
ing concentration of ownership. It is estimated that 
while half the farm families own less than one-tenth 
the land, 7.5 per cent of the families own more than a 
half of the land. Perhaps the largest single holding out- 
side of the Imperial Household is one of 4000 acres on 
the Echigo Plain, a tract which is tenanted by 2500 
families, or 14,000 persons. In all there are over 3500 
landlords in Japan who hold more than 125 acres each. 
These large landlords have an average of just under 
200 tenants apiece and between them account for one 
of ajl she tenant households in Japai*. Th^re .ar 


about 50,000 moderately large landowners with hold- 
ings of between twenty-five and 124 acres each. In 
addition there are another million absentee landlords 
holding up to twenty-five acres. 

The smaller absentee landlords are drawn from the 
rentier class which in the advanced industrial countries 
of the West is inclined to invest in bonds or gilt-edged 
securities. Until very recently there has been little op- 
portunity for the Japanese urban middle-class investor 
to invest in the giant monopoly enterprises of the Zai- 
batsu, the shares of which were held largely in the 
fabulously wealthy families controlling those enter- 
prises. Investment in land has brought about 5 per cent 
return against the 10-15 per cent return from the in- 
accessible industrial and financial shares, but it has had 
certain compensations. Ownership of land brings with 
it social prestige and political power in the area in which 
it is owned. In addition, the small man who invests in 
land does not need any further capital. The tenant is 
usually required to furnish all the capital, including seed 
and fertilizer. Also, ownership carries with it the pos- 
sibility of lending money to the tenants at usurious in- 
terest rates sometimes running as high as 40 per cent. 

Frequently the noncultivating landowner also runs 
a sake brewing factory or is the part owner of a silk- 
reeling establishment. Silk reeling and a number of other 
small-scale industries are run for the most part on the 
labor of peasant girls. These peasant girls go to work 
most frequently to pay off their fathers' debts and 
naturally the landowner to whom the peasants are in- 
debted is in a good position to force them to work in 
his shop on pretty much his own terms. Furthermore, 
when the big textile mills want cheap labor they go to 
the landowner-moneylender who acts as a procurer by 


forcing the peasants to send their daughters off into in- 
dentured servitude in the mills to work off their debt 
to him. 

In this and other ways the big millowners and the 
landowners have a community of interests. The mem- 
bers of the peasant household who go to the city, 
whether daughters or young sons, generally stay for 
fairly short periods, returning to the village because of 
unemployment, or for marriage, or to help out during 
harvest time. This type of worker does not consider 
factory work a permanent occupation, does not de- 
velop the class-consciousness of a regular industrial 
laborer and is not likely to respond readily to the per- 
suasion of a union organizer. Furthermore they return 
to their ancestral village when unemployed. In this way 
the burden of the upkeep of the unemployed is largely 
removed from the state and the factory owners; while 
at the same time the resultant overcrowding of the vil- 
lage tends to bid up the rent for the landlord. 


These burdens of parasitic landlordism, high rents, 
high interest rates and indentured servitude in textile mills 
rest on the stooped shoulders of Japan's harried peasant 
proprietors and tenants who actually work the land. 
Of the 5,500,000 farm families tilling the soil, some 30 
per cent own the soil they work, slightly less than 30 
per cent are tenants only, while the remainder, over 
40 per cent, are part owners, part tenants. This division 
has existed, with only slight changes, since the beginning 
of this century. 

At first sight one might assume that the peasant pro- 
prietor owning his own land would be comparatively 


well-off. Actually he Is barely able to keep his head 
above water and wages a constant fight to hold on to 
his land. He is generally so deeply in debt and his farm 
so heavily mortgaged that he frequently remains an 
owner in name only. Heavy taxation, monopoly prices 
for fertilizer and the necessity of borrowing at exorbi- 
tant interest rates when harvests are poor, have long ago 
reduced him to almost as pitiful a state as the tenant. 
Many a peasant owner pays nearly as much in interest to 
usurers as the tenant pays in rent, and in addition is bur- 
dened by heavy taxes. 

Despite his bitter lot, the peasant proprietor clings 
with passionate attachment to land which has been con- 
secrated for him by the toil of countless ancestors. In 
his struggle to remain on the land, as proprietor or 
part proprietor, he sells a daughter or a few square yards 
of land to cover his tax arrears, to meet his debt to the 
village usurer or to tide himself over a lean year caused 
by poor crops. He surrenders each square yard of land 
with the greatest reluctance, 

As the peasant owner loses out he is compelled to rent 
small bits of land because the small section he retains 
is not enough to support his family. These part owners, 
part tenants, comprise some 42 per cent of the agricul- 

But the lot of the full tenant is the worst of all He is 
not a tenant in the Western sense, an entrepreneur, who 
pays a cash rent generally amounting to 10-15 per cent 
of the value of the crop, hires labor to work the land, 
and then takes both the risks and the profits of the en- 
terprise. Rather he is a semifeudal sharecropper. He pays 
a rent in kind for the use of rice land which amounts 
to a fixed number of bushels per acre irrespective of 
yield, but generally amounts to 50-60 per cent of the 


crop in rice lands. Out of the remainder of the crop the 
tenant has to buy high-priced artificial fertilizer, imple- 
ments and seed, in addition to feeding and clothing his 
family. Naturally, the income of the tenant depends in 
large part upon the crop. In a good year the tenant's 
share increases somewhat, but since the demand for 
agricultural products is relatively inelastic, its price is 
likely to fall drastically, especially at harvest time. Thus 
it is possible for the tenant's money income to decrease 
despite a good crop. 

In addition to the fluctuations of the market, the 
tenant is also afflicted with insecurity of tenure, a con- 
dition which has given- rise to many agrarian conflicts 
in the last two decades. Under the custom prevalent in 
Japan, the landlord has the right to order a tenant off 
his land virtually at will. Under ordinary circumstances 
he will do so if he feels that he can get a higher rent for 
it. Therefore if a tenant works hard, improves the land 
by putting in a good deal of expensive fertilizer, or im- 
proves the irrigation, he is apt to be evicted to make 
way for another tenant who is willing to pay a higher 
rent to the landlord for the improvements put in by 
the previous tenant. 


One of the products of these oppressive conditions of 
rural exploitation has been a recurrently explosive situa- 
tion in the supposedly "conservative" rural areas. The 
Meiji government itself was ushered in during the 
'sixties by a crescendo of peasant revolts. The peasants 
had hoped that with the advent of the Meiji government 
their overwhelming burden of rent and debt would be 
lightened. When they discovered that, on the con- 


trary, it was to be Increased, they showed their dis- 
satisfaction partly by a renewed series of peasant revolts 
and partly by participating in new and significant agrar- 
ian political organizations. 

The number of peasant revolts for the first decade of 
the Meiji era was well over 190. At first sight, many of 
these revolts seem to be directed primarily against the 
innovations of the new regime. Peasants became riot- 
ously excited by wild rumors that the numbering of 
houses was preparatory to the abduction of their wives 
and daughters. They were easily persuaded that the 
phrase "blood-taxes" in the conscription decree of 1873 
meant just what it said literally and that in joining the 
army they would have their blood drawn and shipped 
abroad to make dye for scarlet blankets. They believed 
that the new schools were places where their children 
would have their blood extracted and that the new tele- 
phone and telegraph lines would be used to transmit the 

It cannot be doubted that many of the uprisings which 
characterized the early Meiji period arose from the in- 
stinctive opposition of a backward peasantry toward the 
innovations of the new government. But, as E. Herbert 
Norman has pointed out in his important study The 
Emergence of Japan as a Modern State, "While these 
old wives' tales and naive misunderstandings of the 
healthy attempt of the government to modernize the 
nation acted as the spark which ignited the uprisings, 
somehow the flames always spread to the quarter of the 
richest usurer, the land-grabbing village headman, the 
tyrannous official of the former feudal lord." (Italics Mr. 

In many cases, too, the resentment against innovations 
was based on justifiable fears. Peasant resistatnw to the 


Introduction of a new calendar arose from the fear that 
the usurers would take advantage of this reform to juggle 
their accounts to their own advantage. They objected 
to a land survey imposed by the new government be- 
cause, of its total expense of 40,000,000 yen, the peasant 
proprietors were forced to pay 35,000,000. Thus, al- 
though the great wave of peasant revolts in the first 
decade of the Meiji government had an overtone of 
superstition and resistance to innovation, its main weight 
was thrown against the usurer, the rice broker, the 
village headman, in short against all the personifications 
of feudal oppression. 


In the second decade of the Meiji era, that is, after 
1877, the deep resentment of the peasantry found an 
outlet in political action. 

The political movement among the peasantry had 
small beginnings. In some areas of the country, notably 
around Tokyo in Shizuoka, Ibaraki, Gumma and Sai- 
tama, the pervasive peasant resentment against high taxes 
and evictions found expression in local organizations 
with revealing names like Debtors' Party (Shakkmto), 
Poor People's Party (Kyuminto) and Social Party (Sha- 
kaito). They originated in the attempts of impoverished 
peasants to oppose wholesale evictions. Gradually they 
gave voice to wider demands and in handbills and mani- 
festoes which they circulated they campaigned for 
rent decreases, a moratorium on debts and popular elec- 
tions to a democratic assembly through which the needs 
of the peasantry could find expression. 

At the same time that the peasants' pressing material 
demands were broadening out into the political field, 


the movement for political democracy found it in- 
creasingly necessary to sink its roots among the masses. 
At the inception of the movement for political democ- 
racy the opponents of the Meiji oligarchy ignored the 
great majority of the population. They addressed pe- 
titions to the government and the Emperor signed by 
a handful 1 of intellectuals and out-of -office bureaucrats. 
The petitions requested the election of a popular as- 
sembly and other democratic reforms, but the Meiji aris- 
tocrats were not to be persuaded by the reasoning of a 
handful of powerless opponents. 

The liberals finally recognized the weakness of their 
position and set about remedying it. In March 1879 the 
Society of Patriots (Aikokusha), a predecessor of the 
Liberal Party, decided to present a mass petition for 
the establishment of a national assembly. It divided the 
whole country into ten sections and dispatched propa- 
gandists to each of them. As a result of this activity the 
society sank its roots all over the country. When it met 
in convention in March 1880 there were several thou- 
sand delegates on hand, representing ninety-six societies 
with a total membership of some 100,000. The govern- 
ment demonstrated its fear of the deep roots the move- 
ment was developing by suddenly enacting a law re- 
stricting public meetings. Furthermore the new law was 
enforced on the same day by a telegram ordering the 
dissolution of the convention. The leaders of the society- 
had been warned of the government's intention, and in- 
stantly passed a resolution to continue the organization 
until the establishment of a national assembly, simul- 
taneously renaming the society the "League for the Es- 
tablishment of a National Assembly." (Kokkai Kisei 
Domei Kal) 

Since the League was ignored or rebuffed by the 


Tokyo officials, It decided to demonstrate Its popular 
support by securing the signatures of a majority of the 
entire population to a petition demanding the establish- 
ment of popular government. The response it met was 
strong enough to make It possible to keep a stream of 
delegations from various parts of the country pouring 
into Tokyo. Their constant visits to government offices 
and to ministers of state proved to be so vexatious that 
the government issued an order directing all petitions 
and memorials to be forwarded through the local au- 
thorities. This caused the roots of the liberal move- 
ment to grow still deeper among the people, for now the 
whole movement had to be decentralized, and adapted 
to local conditions. For the first time in Japanese his- 
tory, meetings of a political character were held in every 
province. The liberal leader Itagaki made a speaking 
tour of the country and was welcomed everywhere, not 
only in the cities, but in the rural districts as well. 

In this way, under pressure of the government's op- 
pressive economic and political policies, the peasants 
became interested in politics and the liberal politicians 
became interested in the peasant. This linking of the 
agrarian movement with the liberal movement was of 
the greatest significance. It had been the acquisition of 
just such mass support among the French peasants which 
had given the French Revolution the strength required 
to overthrow the Bourbons. 

The authorities were particularly concerned when 
this broad coalition found national expression in the 
Liberal Party (Jiyuto} founded in 1881 under the lead- 
ership of Itagaki. Although the national leadership's lib- 
eralism was primarily political, the local branches of the 
Liberal Party quite often had fairly radical leaders who 
.stirred up popular sentiment not only in favor of repre- 


sentative political institutions but also for rent reduc- 
tions and the other demands of the peasantry. The 
Governor of Fukushima Prefecture voiced the bitter 
opposition of government circles to such developments 
when he declared: "As long as I am in office I will not 
allow the Liberal Party and other assassins and bandits 
to raise their heads." 

The resourceful Meiji oligarchs met the threat of the 
Liberal Party by splitting and suppressing it. By in- 
ducing Itagaki and another leader, Shojiro Goto, to 
visit Europe, ostensibly to study political questions, they 
left the democratic movement leaderless at the most 
critical moment in its struggles. This discredited the 
leaders of the party in the eyes of the rank and file. 

Angered and bewildered by what seemed to them the 
defection of their chiefs, the local leaders of the Liberal 
Party and the Debtors' Party in many cases took to 
insurrection as a means of achieving the economic and 
political ends of the peasant-linked liberal movement. 
One of the outstanding revolts of this kind took place in 
Chichibu in Saitama Prefecture in 1884. In this area the 
Debtors 7 Party, in collaboration with a radical group from 
the local Liberal Party, aroused the peasantry and the 
village poor against the landlords. When the police ar- 
rived on the scene the peasants resisted them forcibly 
until they finally were quelled. There were similar re- 
volts in Aichi and Ibaraki during the next two years. 

While the government was suppressing these agrarian- 
democratic revolts, the more cautious and conservative 
leaders of the Liberal Party dissolved the organization 
to clear It of the stigma of inciting to revolt. Some of 
these leaders, while believers in political democracy, 
were also landlords who feared an aroused peasantry. 

The government was able to use the newly organized 


conscript army to suppress the revolts. Conscription had 
been instituted not only for purposes of foreign combat. 
The government, recognizing the bitter poverty of the 
peasantry and having determined not to do anything to 
alleviate that poverty, made provision to keep agrarian 
unrest within bounds with the Conscription Act of 
1873. The very existence of a sizable national army, 
with garrisons in strategic locations, made peasant up- 
risings less likely. At the same time conscription gave 
the authorities an opportunity to indoctrinate the peas- 
ant youth and to divert it from the pressing problems of 
rents, interest and taxes to the glories of war and con- 
quest. Instruction in the barracks emphasized loyalty, 
and stressed the dangers of seditious concepts such as 
democracy, universal suffrage and the like. Field Marshal 
Yamagata, the evil genius behind much of Japan's mili- 
tarism and reaction in that period, forbade soldiers to 
join political associations with democratic or liberal 
tendencies and warned against "giving free rein to idle 
chatter about the people's rights under the guise of 
discussing current affairs." 

But not all of the military leaders supported the use 
of the army against the people. One of those in dis- 
agreement, Takeki Tani, observed: "[To] our shame 
there is something which cannot be hidden even if we 
forcibly tried to gag the mouths of others; and that, as 
everyone knows, is that the army, created for the pur- 
pose of guarding the country against a foreign foe, 
slaughters the discontented populace of our country; 
this is truly a disgrace that can hardly be borne." 

The split between the conservative parliamentary 
democrats and the agrarian radical leaders, and the sup- 
pression of the premature and uncorrelated revolts, set 
back both the peasant and the parliamentary movements 


tremendously. The peasant movement, already pros- 
trate, was given a further blow in 1900 when the Diet 
passed the Public Peace Police Law which practically 
prohibited tenant farmers from agitating in their own 


The mass of peasants and tenants were roused again 
from their resigned poverty by the impact of World 
War I and the economic distress and political agitation 
which followed in its wake. The great rise in the price 
of manufactured goods, particularly artificial fertilizers, 
more than doubled the burden of debt of the peasantry 
between 1918 and 1922. The price of rice and other 
agricultural products rose at a somewhat slower rate. 
Tenants, part owners and many peasant cultivators had 
to sell their crops when prices were low and could not 
afford to buy back enough to live on later when the 
prices soared. Famine stalked the countryside. 

The peasantry showed their great need and deep re- 
sentment in a great upsurge of rural discontent. The 
Rice Riots of 1918, which swept Japan like a prairie 
fire, took hold not only in the towns and cities but in 
the villages as well. The number of officially recorded 
tenant-landlord conflicts rose from eighty-five in 1917 
to 408 in 1920. During the same period local tenant 
unions increased from 130 to 382 in number. The chief 
demand of these young, struggling organizations was 
a reduction in the oppressive land rents, but at this 
early stage of their development they were not strong 
enough to force any concessions. 

The peasant movement entered on a new phase in 
1922 with the formation of the Japanese Peasants' Union 



(Nippon Nomin Kwniai) , the first association of tenants 
and peasant cultivators on a national scale. Despite gov- 
ernment attacks and interference, the organization in- 
creased in strength and militancy. By 1926 government 
statistics admitted there were over four thousand local 
peasant unions with a total membership of 368,000. In 
that same year over 2000 agrarian disputes, involving 
117,000 peasants, took place. The Peasants' Union did 
not restrict itself to purely economic struggles. It was 
primarily responsible for the formation of the Farmer- 
Labor Party (Nomin Rodoto) in 1925. Perhaps the 
best indication of this party's potentialities was the fact 
that it was suppressed on the day it was formed. 

In 1928 the government of the notorious General 
Tanaka attempted to suppress all popular and left-wing 
movements, partly because they were opposing his 
policy of sending troops to intervene in China. Stern 
repressive treatment was meted out to the agrarian move- 
ment. The Peasants' Union was suppressed and only 
permitted to function again after it had purged itself of 
suspected Communists. In Kagawa Prefecture, a center 
of agrarian activity, the authorities stamped out the 
unions almost completely and forced the resignation of 
four agrarian members of the prefectural assembly. 

This suppression was inspired in large part by the 
landlords who, during this time, not only were under the 
pressure of an organized and militant tenantry but were 
also hit by the importation of cheaper rice from Korea 
and Formosa. The consequent fall in the price of rice 
meant a reduction in the money value of the rents the 
landlords received in kind. They attempted to transfer 
the burden of their losses to the shoulders of the ten- 
antry by exacting more rent. They used their legal right 
to evict tenants who would not agree to pay an even 


more oppressive rent. But the tenants defended their 
rights with increasing vigor. While in 1924 less than 2 
per cent of the total number of tenant-landlord con- 
flicts resulted from tenants' attempts to resist eviction, 
by 1930 it had risen to 40 per cent. 

The landlords met this increasing resistance with in- 
creased organization on their own part. In 1921 there 
were 163 landlord leagues, but by the end of 1928 the 
number had risen to 734. In 1925 the Greater Japan 
Landlords' Association (Dai Nippon Jinushi Kyokai) 
was formed "to impart the landlord movement political 
strength on a national scale," and by 1930 the associa- 
tion had 30,000 landlord members. It announced Its 
aims in the following terms: "We cannot permit the 
present situation in the countryside to be ignored in 
silence. . . . Lease conflicts are becoming more acute 
every year. Danger faces us. ... This association is 
fighting to protect the countryside from left radicalism 
it endeavors to improve the position of the coun- 
tryside by moderate measures of justice and seeks to 
prevent the tenant farmers from resorting to ill-con- 
sidered actions. . . . The Association recognizes the 
human dignity of the tenant farmer and will endeavor 
by every possible social measure to improve his con- 
ditions and to put an end to the tenant-landlord con- 

The landlords' methods of recognizing the tenants' 
"human dignity" were truly unique. Landlord leagues 
appeared before the courts and demanded that recal- 
citrant peasants be deprived of the right to cultivate 
land. Where the courts were not adequately co-opera- 
tive, the organized landlords evicted the tenants forcibly, 
frequently calling upon the thugs of the "patriotic" 
societies for help. 



The crisis of 1929 tremendously accelerated the ruin 
of the peasantry. There was a sharp drop in agricultural 
prices: between 1929 and 1933 Japan's income from 
rice and silk cocoons was cut almost exactly in half. At 
the same time the giant trusts were able to maintain their 
prices on manufactured goods and fertilizers. 

As a result of the fall in agricultural prices, the small 
landlords attempted to secure additional rents in kind 
to pay interest on their debts to the banks. They mer- 
cilessly shifted the weight of their depression losses to 
the backs of their tenants. They refused to allow rent 
reductions and frequently evicted old tenants to secure 
new tenants at a higher rental. And added to this was 
a poor harvest in 193L 

Actual famine swept many districts in 1932. Local 
banks shut. Towns and villages were unable to pay their 
teachers. In many villages the peasants were forced to 
eat bracken, roots, rice husks. In the schools children 
fainted daily from lack of food. In the Tohoku district 
alone the number of persons requiring immediate as- 
sistance was officially estimated at 2,000,000. 

In some villages virtually all the unmarried girls were 
sold to the town brothels. According to the journal 
Chuo Koron 614 girls left a single village in Nagano 
Prefecture, 279 going to work as servants and 335 as 
prostitutes. In one village of 350 households in Akita 
Prefecture 50 girls became prostitutes in 1934 alone. In 
Iwate girls were sold for as little as 50 yen each. 

The tenants and peasant owners attempted to defend 
themselves against this increased burden of misery. The 
number of disputes rose. The three pre-crisis years 
(1926-1928) brought forth some 5600 tenant-landlord 


conflicts. In the three crisis years (1929-1931) 7600 
conflicts took place. In the next three years (1932-1934) 
the conflicts totaled 12,000. The greatest number of dis- 
putes were concerned with evictions. In many cases the 
rising peasant struggle expressed itself in extreme forms. 
Riots were frequent and at times the rice storehouses 
were broken open. At other times thousands of men 
and women with starving babies in their arms broke into 
the town halls and refused to leave until some rice had 
been distributed. Landowners' residences were sacked 
and burned; police and court officers sent to execute 
judgments were resisted in armed conflict. The violence 
exhibited in agrarian disputes exceeded anything seen in 
urban labor disputes. 

One of these incidents is described in the Japanese 
periodical Ne<w$ of the Social Movement (Shakai Undo 
Tsushiri) in November 1935: 

The tenants of a big- landlord, the millionaire Terao of 
Osaka, demonstrated in order to get their rents reduced 
31.5 per cent. The landlord answered by getting" the court 
to prohibit entry into the fields. This judgment had to be 
put into effect by the court officers, who came and hung 
up a notice forbidding entry. A crowd of more than 70 
tenants armed with field implements surrounded the court 
officers, wrested the notice from them and beat them, 
Police arrived immediately. Four persons were badly 
wounded, 72 persons were arrested. 

The peasants* unions, particularly the left-wing ones, 
played an important part in this rising conflict. The 
Japanese Peasants* Union which had been founded in 
1922 existed until 1926 as an integral organization, 
when it split into three independent streams, right, left 
and centrist. After the invasion of Manchuria the right- 
wing Japanese Peasants' Society (Nippon Nomin 


miai) 9 with a membership of about 38,000, strongly sup- 
ported aggression on the continent as the way out for 
the Japanese peasant, but retained the demand for state 
ownership of the land. 

The centrist Japanese Peasants 5 Federation (Nippon 
Nomin Sodomei) was headed by Bunji Suzuki, an op- 
portunist and conservative labor leader who was suffi- 
ciently well regarded by the Japanese government to be 
sent abroad repeatedly as a delegate to the International 
Labor Office. Suzuki payed lip-service to peasant re- 
form but was fearful of militant peasant action. The 
centrist group excused the invasion of Manchuria as a 
necessary move for the alleviation of the peasants' 

The left-wing All- Japan Peasants' Union Conference 
(Zenkoku Nomin Kaigi) claimed a membership of 
60,000 in the mid-'thirties but admitted to limited in- 
fluence, largely because of the close police surveillance 
under which it operated. Its ultimate program called 
for state ownership of the land with cultivation under 
the direction of committees elected by the peasants. Its 
immediate program called for reductions in rents, taxes 
and costs of farmers' necessities, cancellation of a sub- 
stantial part of the rural debt, security of tenure for 
tenants, distribution of government rice stocks to the 
starving and construction of improved irrigation works 
at government expense. 

Water to irrigate the rice fields in the hot summer 
months was so scarce that peasants armed with stones, 
bamboo pikes and implements frequently fought over 
the division of the water. In Saitama Prefecture some 
3000 peasants fought each other until some 200 police 
stopped the battle. 

The left-wing tenant unions attempted to divert this 


Internecine struggle Into more effective channels. An 
appeal to the peasants in Scarlet Banner (Akahata) in- 
dicates the approach they used: 

There is no sense, brothers, in fighting each other about 
water. We must make it clear who is the real enemy. . . . 
We have always suffered from a water shortage. The water 
problem would be quite easy to solve if we had the money 
to build a dam, to drain the underground waters, and to 
build large basins and reservoirs. We know exactly what 
needs to be done but we have no money to do it, because 
we are exploited by the Emperor, the landlords and the 
capitalists. Let all these people hand over the money which 
provides them with sweet food and rich clothing and let it 
be used to build darns and canals! Brothers! Cease foolish 
fratricidal strife over a drop of water; turn your blows 
against landlords, officials and capitalists (the local electric 
companies for example) and demand that they all bear their 
share of the expenses for the improvement of the irrigation 

This type of propaganda had a certain amount of in- 
fluence. In a village in Chiba Prefecture in 1934 about 
400 peasants armed with shovels and hoes clashed with 
the police while demonstrating against the failure of the 
authorities to construct adequate irrigation works. In 
the city of Kumamotp 600 peasants forced their way into 
the governor's office early in August of the same year 
and were dispersed by the police only after blood had 
been shed. 

In addition to jailing the instigators and organizers 
of many of these protests some slight attempts were made 
to prevent such developments by ameliorating condi- 
tions. The landowners, working through organizations 
like the Imperial Agricultural Society, brought pressure 
on the government to make heavier purchases of rice 


and to control the import of cheaper Korean and For- 
mosan rice, so as to boost the price of Japanese rice. 
They were also able to have the land tax reduced and 
loans made somewhat more available through extending 
the activities of the rural co-operative. 

But none of these measures touched the basic problems 
or affected a marked improvement in the living con- 
ditions of the millions that tilled the soil. 


The militarists could not and did not ignore the 
mounting agrarian crisis. A large number of the young 
officers came from the ranks of the middle and petty 
landlords whose profits were drastically cut by the 
fall in agricultural prices and the refusal of the organized 
tenants to pay increased rents in kind. Furthermore, the 
majority of the Japanese soldiers were from tenant or 
peasant proprietor families and the increasing ruin of 
the peasantry and the consequent growth of agrarian 
discontent threatened to create difficulties in the army 
and its reservist organizations. The problem was posed 
most sharply in the summer of 1932, when a fall in the 
price of silk coincided with a crop failure, famine in the 
northern prefectures and the return to the villages of 
additional unemployed workers forced out of the cities 
by the industrial crisis. The countryside became a caul- 
dron of simmering discontent threatening to explode in 
agrarian revolts on an unprecedented scale. 

Faced with this problem, the militarist leaders adopted 
an amazingly successful strategy of social demagogy. 
They deflected the tremendous pressure of social dis- 
content from a movement of internal revolt to mass 
support of the militarists' plans for external aggression. 


Their strategy had two aspects, one negative, the other 
positive. First they attempted to make sure that the 
social unrest would not find any radical outlet by aug- 
menting the terror against the organizers of the tenants' 

At the same time they harnessed the power of the 
reservoir of discontent for their own ends of military 
aggression. They posed as the only friends of the 
agrarian sufferers and in order to demonstrate their in- 
terest even launched genuine-sounding nation-wide pe- 
tition campaigns to alleviate rural misery. And then 
they inaugurated a campaign of tremendous proportions 
to lead agrarian unrest into aggressive channels. They 
preached that the problem of the peasant could only be 
solved through external expansion. They declared that 
their invasion of Manchuria was only a means of getting 
land for the poor crowded Japanese peasant. They de- 
clared that they had been forced into this attack because 
of the "oppression of European imperialism" which 
would not permit Japanese farmers to emigrate. For 
example they told the peasants that the Japanese gov- 
ernment had tried to lease large tracts of unoccupied 
lands in Australia but had been refused and that the at- 
tack on Manchuria was the only alternative. This ma- 
terial motive, combined with the idealistic motive of 
"spreading the Emperor's August Domain," swayed a 
large portion of the unsophisticated peasants. 

One of the reasons the militarists were so successful 
in winning over the peasantry was their control over 
so many of the influences reaching the rural village. 
They reached the rural children through the school- 
teachers, who had been heavily and specially indoc- 
trinated with the militarist viewpoint during their period 
of military service. The young peasant was subjected 


to an even heavier barrage during his period of military 
training, in an attempt to convince him that his prob- 
lems could only be solved through the conquest and 
exploitation of other lands. And when he had completed 
his service, the Society of Reservists and the other army- 
dominated jingoist and chauvinist organizations con- 
tinued to develop the same themes. It is little wonder 
that some of the most rabid young officers have come 
from this class and that peasant soldiers have showed a 
brutal impatience with the conquered people of the 
"Co-Prosperity Sphere." 

The military fascist Putsch of May 15, 1932, the 
purpose of which was to accelerate the drive to complete 
fascism and all-out war, provided one of the best ex- 
amples of agrarian demagogy. The civilian participants 
in this Putsch were recruited in large part from gradu- 
ates of the Native-Land-Loving School of Kosaburo 
Tachibana, an agrarian fanatic closely connected with 
the young officers' movement. One of the leaflets dis- 
tributed in Tokyo clamored: "Kill the capitalists, pun- 
ish the arbitrary authorities, kill the sly landowners and 
the special privileged class. Peasants, workers and the 
whole nation, defend yourselves and guard your father- 
land." During their subsequent trial, in which the as- 
sassins were handled very gently by the authorities, one 
of the participants cried out: "The future in store for 
the children of rural families is nothing but slavish ap- 
prenticeship for the boys, and for the girls lives as fac- 
tory workers, maidservants, or abandoned waitresses." 
Tachibana explained his reason for becoming a leader 
in the movement in the following way: "Producing 
rice for the nation, the farmers were unable to obtain 
food for themselves. . . . The politicians and financiers 
have strayed from the spirit of patriotic brotherhood 


which is the fundamental characteristic of our nation. 
I felt the need of awakening them and we acted with 
that motive. . . . The farmers were in a state of slavery 
and neither of the political parties helped them. At this 
moment the young officers stretched out a hand to us to 
stand up for better conditions." 

After the February 26 mutiny of 1936 apologists in- 
sisted that the young officers involved were of poor 
agrarian families, striking back against the oppressors of 
their class. Investigation revealed that among fourteen 
of the leaders, four were the sons of generals, one the 
son of a rear admiral, one the son of a colonel, two others 
the sons of a lieutenant and a sergeant major. Of the 
remainder, only one was the son of a farmer. One other 
was the son of a town mayor and therefore probably 
from a relatively well-to-do agrarian family, 


Although foreign conquest was held out as a panacea 
for the agrarian crisis, the peasantry was destined to be 
severely disappointed by the results of war. There were 
some slight and fleeting advantages at various stages. In 
the mid-'thirties the renewed demand for male labor 
in the growing munitions industries and for female 
workers in the textile plants removed some of the pres- 
sure of population in the rural areas. As rationing grew 
tighter after 1937 some of the peasants in the areas 
around the large cities were able to make illicit profits 
selling products on the black market. 

But the general impact of war produced a steady de- 
terioration in the position of the peasantry. The ever- 
increasing manpower demands of the military were a 
particularly heavy burden because Japanese agriculture 


is almost entirely dependent on hand labor. Production 
was made still more difficult with the partial conversion 
of the ammonium sulphate industry into munitions pro- 
duction with the subsequent cut in the supply of arti- 
ficial fertilizer. The conditions of the tenants and part- 
owners were already deteriorating on the eve of the 
attack on Pearl Harbor because rents in kind were rising 
while productivity fell. In order to allay agrarian dis- 
content and thus maintain the morale of an army com- 
posed so largely of peasants the government instituted 
a number of measures. Preference was given the families 
of soldiers in purchasing government-owned rice. Slight 
financial assistance was given to help settle debts or 
keep the soldiers' families in their agrarian status. When 
the shipping shortage made the food situation par- 
ticularly precarious the authorities made strenuous ef- 
forts to supplement the inadequate manpower available 
on the farms with the labor of school children. In the 
early part of 1945 it was decided to discontinue almost 
all education as a means of supplying the required labor 

Despite these evidences of concern about agricultural 
production, the authorities showed a cold hostility to 
any suggestion of really aiding the working farmer. 
This was demonstrated most conclusively in the Diet 
discussions of January 1944. On January 26, 27 and 31 
several Diet members suggested drastic reforms to im- 
prove the position of the tenant and thus increase pro- 
duction. Representative Ichio Sassai declared that farms 
owned and operated by the tenants themselves would 
produce more of the desperately needed foodstuffs. 
Representative Rikizo Hirano asked whether the gov- 
ernment wouldn't liberalize its loan regulations to en- 
able tenants to become peasant proprietors. The answers 


of Minister of Agriculture Yamazaki were categorical 
He declared that the increase of individual farm owner- 
ship at that time would upset the "interdependent char- 
acter of the existing system" and that there was abso- 
lutely no chance of the government aiding such a de- 


The agrarian crisis has not only found no alleviation 
through war but is intensified tremendously by the im- 
pact of defeat. The basic problems remain the same: 
parasitic landlords exacting semifeudal rents and usurious 
interest from a discontented but inarticulate peasantry. 
As before, this semifeudal system serves as an obstacle 
to the development of an internal market and a peace- 
ful economy and instead acts as a source for chauvinism 
and aggressive trends in foreign policy. 

Try as we might, the agrarian crisis cannot be ig- 
nored by the victors. There can be little doubt that the 
remaining cadres of military fascism will attempt to dig 
themselves underground in the rural areas and utilize 
peasant discontent as the mass basis for their resurgence. 
There can be no hope for a stable democracy or a peace- 
ful economy if the peasantry remain in their impover- 
ished and discontented plight. 

It would be the height of foolishness to suggest that 
the occupation authorities can by themselves perma- 
nently democratize or modernize Japanese agriculture. 
The main burden of the final solution of their funda- 
mental agricultural problems must rest upon the Japa- 
nese themselves. It is possible, however, for the occupy- 
ing authorities to expedite these developments by 
encouraging and facilitating such measures and all other 


actions undertaken by the Japanese to assure the culti- 
vator an adequate return for his produce. 

Furthermore, during the period of military govern- 
ment the occupation authorities can themselves institute 
certain direct measures which will facilitate the solution 
of the agrarian crisis. We can encourage bona-fide or- 
ganizations representing the peasant owners and tenants. 
In the interest of peace in the countryside and as a 
means of depriving the military fascist demagogues of 
a breeding ground the seizure of agricultural land for 
the nonpayment of taxes or rent should be suspended 
for the period of military occupation. In the interest of 
increased production and self-sufficiency we can and 
should lower the land tax on owner-cultivated land and 
proclaim a corresponding reduction in farm rentals. 
All of these actions are possible under the broad powers 
of the occupying authorities. The extent to which these 
initial reforms are carried forward and made permanent 
will depend to a considerable degree on how far we go 
to encourage and facilitate the emergence of a demo- 
cratic government and peasant unions representative of 
the basic needs of those who till the soil. 

Such actions are not a matter of humanitarianism but 
simply constitute enlightened selfishness on our part, an 
effort to eliminate one of the basic causes of aggression 
in the past. The sponsorship of such measures would be 
a devastating blow to three quarters of a century of pro- 
militarist antif oreign agitation among the peasantry. The 
world over tenants and impoverished peasant proprietors 
turn toward those who help alleviate their condition. 
The militarists have recognized this and pretended to be 
the only allies of the peasants. But they have not delivered 
on their promises. If the United Nations prove them- 
selves to be better friends of the peasant than the mili- 


tarists we may anticipate with confidence a gigantic re- 
versal in the attitude of the peasantry. 

The U.S.S.R. has demonstrated the effectiveness of 
such measures In the countries on Its Western borders. It 
is particularly interesting to note results In Poland, Ru- 
mania and Hungary, where the peasants are Roman 
Catholics and until recently were anti-Russian. As in 
Japan the key economic problem of these East European 
countries was a semifeudal agriculture with masses of 
tenants and poor peasants living on the edge of starvation. 
The Russians recognized this and encouraged the estab- 
lishment of regimes which advocated peasant reforms. 
These reforms did not entail collectivization or anything 
approximating socialism, but rather the destruction of the 
survivals of feudalism. The large estates were divided 
among the landless tenants and small peasants. The land 
was acquired as private property, with payment spread 
over a number of years. Almost overnight the Balkan 
peasants, who had been converted into rural capitalists, 
became friendly to the socialist U.S.S.R., because it had 
helped them secure land. At the same time they became 
increasingly suspicious of the Western Powers who were 
friendly to the old regimes of large, semifeudal land- 

It is clear therefore that the agrarian situation in Japan 
is a problem and a challenge. If the problem is not solved 
the remnants of militarism will benefit. If a democratic 
regime is able to carry through agrarian reforms it will 
win for itself millions of rural supporters. If the victori- 
ous powers assist in these reforms, they will not only 
vastly increase the chance for democracy and peace, but 
will earn for themselves a wealth of friendly feeling on 
the part of the rural half of Japan. 




In the winter of 1943-1944 General Juzo 
Nishio, military governor of the Tokyo area, declared: 
"We know there are workers in our country who think 
only of their own interests and seek a return to condi- 
tions of free labor. Such people deserve death." 

The verdict of death which General Nishio sought to 
Impose on laborers striving for freedom is not new. For 
the past half -century the militarists have regarded the 
labor movement as a mortal enemy to be harassed with 
relentless police terror and government suppression. 

Ever since the 1890's the trade unionists have con- 
sistently found their attempts to secure an improved 
livelihood blocked not only by greedy industrialists but 
also by army leaders. The latter have been Interested in 
keeping the workers' share of national production to a 
minimum, in order to devote the largest possible share 
of national production to war goods or to exports which 
would make it possible to acquire war goods abroad. 
Furthermore, the army leaders have seen, in the attempts 
of the trade unionists to extend democratic liberties, and 
to achieve an essential human dignity, a threat to the 
militarist regimentation of the nation behind aggressive 
adventures. It is no wonder that labor and militarism have 
been locked in a death struggle. And it is no wonder that 
the trade unions have been among the most consistent 
and best organized of the Japanese antimilltarists. 

In this unequal struggle, the militarists and their Zai- 
batsu allies have, of course, had all the tactical advan- 
tages. As their control of Japan has grown tighter, the 


relentless onslaught of police terror against the unions 
has been intensified. Despite this, the underground labor 
movement has persisted in its antimilitarist activities right 
through the Pacific war; and through the media of strikes, 
sabotage and slowdowns it has made a small but direct 
contribution to Japan's defeat. The complete story is yet 
to be told, but what has already leaked out gives rise to 
hope that among Japanese workers excellent human ma- 
terial for a new and democratic Japan may be found. 


The labor movement emerged in the wake of the 
Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895, which greatly stimu- 
lated the country's industrial growth. Japan's trade union 
movement, like its industrialization, was late in starting 
and had to learn from foreign experience. The first major 
step in modern labor organization was the formation of 
the Society for the Promotion of Trade Unions in the 
summer of 1897 by a number of workers who had 
studied the organization of labor in the United States at 
first hand. The first trade union, the Iron Workers' 
Union, which was organized in December 1897 with 
over a thousand members, had a constitution and bylaws 
copied from those of American trade unions. This was 
due largely to the influence of its secretary, Sen Kata- 
yama, who had just returned from a twelve-year stay in 
the United States, where he had worked his way through 
courses at Grinnell College, Andover and Yale. 

At about the same time, the first issue of the Labor 
World, a monthly labor magazine edited by Katayama, 
was published. The following quotation from the maga- 
zine indicates its mission: 

The people are silent. I will be the advocate of this 
silence. I will speak for the dumb; I will speak for the 


despairing silent ones; I will interpret their stammerings; 
I will interpret the grumblings, murmurings, the tumults of 
the crowds, the complaints, the cries of men who have been 
so degraded by suffering and ignorance that they have no 
strength to voice their wrongs. I will be the word of the 
people. I will be the bleeding mouth from which the gag 
has been snatched. I will say everything. 

In the next two years additional unions were organ- 
ized, spurred by a successful strike in the Nippon Rail- 
way Company, the largest railroad in Japan, and by 
examples of extreme cruelty and neglect on the part of 
employers. At a colliery in Kyushu over 200 miners were 
buried alive and permitted to burn to death in order to 
save the mining properties. Shortly thereafter thirty-one 
young girls burned to death in the dormitory of a spin- 
ning company. They were young peasant girls serving 
their periods of indentured servitude and were locked 
in at night with the doors and windows fastened on the 
outside to prevent them from escaping. When the fire 
broke out in the middle of the night they were unable 
to escape and all were maimed or killed. 

Alarmed by the flurry of labor activity, the Diet 
sounded the deathknell for the young struggling unions 
by passing the "Public Peace Police Law'^in 1900. It 
was declared a crime, punishable by imprisonment at 
hard labor, to enlist others in a movement to raise wages, 
shorten hours of labor or lower land rents. 


This blow forced the dissolution of the infant unions 
and had the effect of turning the labor movement's 
efforts into the political field. While the police clamped 
down on discussion of strikes, boycotts or trade unions, 


they were more lenient at first in permitting expression 
on labor politics, socialism and the like, apparently on 
the assumption that theories of a better future world 
were less dangerous than organizing to improve the exist- 
ing one. Labor leaders took full advantage of this oppor- 
tunity for political activity because they recognized that 
labor could make no permanent headway in Japan until 
the autocratic government was liberalized and labor per- 
mitted to express itself through the ballot and legal trade 
union organizations. They helped form a Universal Suf- 
frage Association which tried unsuccessfully to extend 
the franchise. 

In its early stages labor politics in Japan represented 
the confluence of two streams: Japanese liberalism and 
international socialism. 

From its origin the labor movement regarded itself 
as the heir of the liberal movement of the 1880's in 
the struggle for wider liberties, universal suffrage and 
women's rights. A labor newspaper declared in 1908: 
"The Meiji liberals have bequeathed to us as unfinished 
business the championing of these rights. Accordingly, 
the winning of these liberties is the responsibility which 
has fallen upon our shoulders." The labor movement also 
inherited some of the leading personalities of the left 
wing of the Liberal Party, for example Kantaro Oi, who 
after the demise of the Liberal Party established several 
periodicals favoring labor's cause. Shosui Kotoku, a 
former active liberal who turned socialist and who was 
later to pay with his life for his beliefs, expressed his 
feelings as follows: "Now that liberalism has been dead 
and buried, the Liberal Party of the past, which strug- 
gled on behalf of liberty and equality, which fought for 
culture and progress with such gallantry and high spirit, 
can only maintain its old traditions through socialists. 


We alone can continue to put up a fight for freedom, 
equality and culture.' 7 

The younger generation of labor progressives who 
returned after gaining experience in the American labor 
movement brought back with them to Japan the socialist 
ideas of Eugene V. Debs and the English translations of 
Ferdinand Lasalle, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. 
When the police prevented them from organizing labor 
unions they turned to writing and lecturing on socialism. 

The labor and socialist movements took organized 
form in 1901 in the Social Democratic Party. Sen Kata- 
yama, Shosui Kotoku and Dr. Iso Abe, who introduced 
baseball into Japan and was later to become the leader 
of the Social Mass Party, were among the founders. Like 
the German Social Democrats, whose lead they followed, 
they adopted both an ultimate and an immediate pro- 
gram. The ultimate program called for international 
disarmament, abolition of class distinctions, public owner- 
ship of the means of production, equalization of the 
distribution of wealth and universal education at the ex- 
pense of the state. Their immediate demands were for 
an eight-hour day and a six-day week, universal suffrage, 
freedom of speech and press, abolition of night work by 
adolescents and protection for the peasants. On the very 
day the Declaration of the Social Democratic Party was 
published, the Minister of Home Affairs summoned 
Katayama and another leader to his office and com- 
manded them to dissolve the party. In addition the 
authorities confiscated the printed copies of the declara- 
tion and prohibited the circulation of the Yorozu, the 
Mainichi and two other daily papers which had pub- 
lished it. 

The founders of the short-lived Social Democratic 
Party then founded an educational, nonpolitical organ- 


ization: the Socialist Association (ShakaiShu&Kyokai). 
Later, when the Katsura Cabinet succeeded the one 
which had banned their party, the Socialists applied to 
the authorities for permission to revive the party under 
the title of the Japanese Commoners' Party, but they 
were bluntly rejected. 

The bulk of their educational work was carried on by 
means of lectures to working-class audiences. The largest 
and most momentous meeting was one held in April 1901 
in Tokyo's Mukoshima Park. It was under the spon- 
sorship of the Niroku Shimpo, a daily newspaper whose 
owner was a personal friend of Sen Katayama. Some 
50,000 workers bought tickets of admission in advance. 
The police, alarmed at the dimensions of the gathering, 
first ordered the newspaper to give up the meeting and 
then declared they would permit a crowd of not more 
than 5000. They set this limit because they could muster 
that many policemen and did not want to have the crowd 
more numerous than the police. The sponsors foiled this 
limitation by announcing that the 5000 would be ad- 
mitted on the basis of first come, first served. When the 
morning of the day arrived, more than the allotted num- 
ber were already there, having remained in the park all 
night. When the meeting opened there were over 30,000 
present. The police were powerless. The assembly voted 
a resolution demanding improved factory conditions and 
universal suffrage. The government thereupon decided 
that it never again would permit a mass assembly of 

The years 1902 and 1903 were the most fertile period 
for the labor and socialist movements. For a brief period 
Labor World was able to appear as a daily newspaper. 
There was a great increase in labor literature. A life of 
the German Socialist Ferdinand Lasalle was published, as 


well as a translation of Labor by Emile Zola. An indige- 
nous literature also made its appearance. Fumio Yano, a 
widely known liberal political figure and writer, became 
a convert to socialism and wrote Neiv Society (Shin 
Shakai), showing how Japan could make the transition 
to socialism. Several thousand copies were sold in a few 
months. This was followed by the socialist novel Fire 
Pillar, by Naoe Kinoshita, which sold out ten editions 
in a few months and was frequently compared to Jack 
London's Iron Heel. 


The small but growing labor and socialist movements 
met their first great test on the subject of internationalism 
and peace with the approach of the Russo-Japanese War. 
A decade later, the powerful German Social-Democratic 
Party, which in theory was just as antiwar and inter- 
national-minded as its struggling Japanese counterpart, 
was to support the Kaiser and Prussian militarism in 
World War I. But the Japanese laborites stood by their 
principles and incurred the undying enmity of the 
militarists and jingoists in their country. 

As early as October 1903, when the strain in Russo- 
Japanese relations became evident, a well-attended anti- 
war meeting was held by the Socialists at the YMCA 
Hall in Tokyo. Two Socialists, Shosui Kotoku and 
Toshihiko Sakai, gave up their editorial positions on the 
popular daily Yorozu because it became ultra-jingoistic. 
They founded a weekly of their own, Heimin SJnmbun 
(the Common People's Paper), which from its inception 
fought Japan's drift to war. 

When the war finally broke out in 1904, the Japanese 
Socialists gathered in Tokyo and sent a manifesto to the 


Russian Social Democrats declaring that their two na- 
tions had been plunged into war by the "militarists" and 
"imperialistic desires" of both governments, but that the 
Socialists of both countries were bound together by 
common aims which recognized "no barrier of race, 
territory or nationality." 
Iskra, then edited by Lenin, commented: 

This manifesto is a document of historic significance. If 
we Russian Social Democrats know only too well with what 
difficulties we are confronted in time of war, ... we must 
bear in mind that far more difficult and embarrassing is the 
position of our Japanese comrades, who, at the moment 
when national feeling was at its highest pitch, extended 
their hands to us. 

The International Congress of Socialists was held at 
Amsterdam in August of 1904 and Sen Katayaina, who 
was then on a tour of the United States and Europe, 
was appointed as the representative of the Japanese So- 
cialists. At Amsterdam he and George Plekhanov, the 
Russian Social Democrat, were appointed Vice-Presidents 
of the Congress, and after the opening address they both 
appeared on the rostrum, shook hands warmly, and 
addressed the audience to give voice to their joint oppo- 
sition to the militarism of the Russian and Japanese 

Within Japan the Socialists continued their opposition 
to the war despite continuous harassing by the police. 
The Heimin continued to criticize the war and all its 
hardships. For this and other acts "opposing the imperial 
constitution" the editors were brought to trial and im- 
prisoned, the weekly suppressed and the printing presses 
confiscated. An attempt was made to replace it with 
another weekly, Chokugen (Plain Speaking), but confis- 


cation of issues, frequent trials and imprisonment of 
editors made work extremely difficult. Finally it was 
suspended altogether by the government in September 
1905. Two months later the educational Socialist Asso- 
ciation was forcibly dissolved, 

The political atmosphere was somewhat less oppres- 
sive under the Saionji ministry, and it became possible 
to establish the Socialist Party in February 1906, with 
Sen Katayama and Toshihiko Sakai as two of its leaders. 
At the suggestion of Katayama, and as a means of pro- 
tecting its legality, the first clause in its constitution read: 
"We advocate socialism within the law." The party got 
off to a rather successful start by organizing demonstra- 
tions in Tokyo against a projected increase in the trolley 
fares. A meeting of 10,000 was held in Hibiya Park in 
Tokyo and afterwards the excited crowds attacked the 
cars and the offices of the company. As a result of this 
agitation the proposed fare increase was withdrawn. 

The police estimated the number of "Socialists" in 
Japan as about 25,000, but this probably was an attempt 
on their part to get added appropriations for the police 
forces, and at any rate represented the great majority of 
inactive socialist sympathizers rather than active and 
organized party members. But whatever potential the 
Socialist Party might have had at this time was almost 
entirely dissipated in a bitter factional fight between the 
followers of Katayama and Kotoku. 

Katayama, although a Marxian Socialist, felt that the 
labor movement was weak in numbers and organization 
and therefore it was necessary to utilize all the legal 
opportunities available to strengthen the organization and 
deepen the understanding of the industrial workers. He 


thought it important to avoid giving the government un- 
necessary reason for suppressing the labor and socialist 
movements. He continued to travel around the country 
lecturing to laboring audiences. Although the police 
didn't permit him to mention words like "strike," "labor 
union," "boycott," "socialism," he did manage to express 
his ideas in a roundabout way and to include considerable 
propaganda in favor of universal suffrage and to retain 
his contacts with the workers. 

Kotoku, on the other hand, was a syndicalist, or be- 
liever in "direct action," partly as a result of having been 
influenced by the I.W.W. when he was in the United 
States. He minimized the agitation for universal suffrage 
and dependence on political action in general The few 
reforms passed by parliaments in the interest of labor 
were nullified in effect by hostile or corrupt judges. 
Real reform, Kotoku claimed, could be obtained only in 
one way, directly by the workingmen from the capi- 
talists, not indirectly through acts of parliament. "Direct 
action" was, therefore, the only logical policy for labor 
and it should give its whole time to preparation for 
general strikes and other revolutionary weapons. 

The policy of moderation advocated by Katayama 
and the syndicalist policy of Kotoku came into conflict 
in the first anniversary meeting of the Socialist Party 
held in February 1907. Although universal suffrage 
was supported, Kotoku's policies predominated and the 
clause "socialism within the law" was stricken from the 
constitution. A resolution openly advocated a funda- 
mental change of the existing society, and opposition 
to religion. The government thereupon suppressed the 
Socialist Party. 

Kotoku's influence was paramount in the Heimin, 
which was being published daily at that time. It was 


very forceful and very radical One article, for exam- 
ple, was entitled "Kick Your Mother and Father." The 
Heimin was crippled with repeated censorship, fines 
and imprisonment of staff members, and was finally sup- 
pressed in March 1907. 

With the party dissolved and their common journal 
suppressed the two groups drifted apart. Katayama 
edited the Socialist News (Shakai Shimbun) while 
Kotoku contributed to the Osaka Heimin. Factionalism 
degenerated into bitter animosity between the two 
groups and they spent their time arguing doctrine rather 
than organizing. 

Of the two socialist groups the police were naturally 
most afraid of Kotoku's direct actionists, because under 
the conditions of extreme exploitation prevalent in 
Japan's factories and mines there was constant danger 
of violent explosion, and the syndicalists might strike 
the spark to cause a conflagration. 

During this period two such explosive incidents took 
place in the copper mines, where exploitation was par- 
ticularly brutal. The first came in the Ashio mines. Or- 
ganization had been started there by one Nagaoka, a 
veteran labor leader. He went to work as a common 
miner but achieved a leading position among the miners 
and quit to publish a little paper called "Friend of the 
Miners" and organize a secret labor organization under 
the fake title "Society of Sincere Persons." In February 
1906 a group of miners came into conflict with the man- 
agement over wages and a riot broke out. Nagaoka tried 
to pacify the miners but was arrested by the police at 
the instigation of the mine owners. This infuriated the 
miners and they started a three-day riot of destruction 
which took a toll of 2,000,000 dollars' worth of com- 
pany property* As a result the labor organization was 


thoroughly destroyed, and the leaders and members of 
the Society of Sincere Persons dismissed. 

A little over a year later, in the Besshi copper mines 
on the island of Shikoku, leaders of the miners who asked 
for 30 per cent wage increases and other demands were 
dismissed and roughly handled by the company's offi- 
cers. Conditions at these mines were particularly bad. 
Wages had been reduced the previous year and miners 
had often been forced to work at pistol point. Enraged 
by this final provocation about two hundred miners got 
very indignant, seized explosives and started to destroy 
every building except the school, hospital and the miners' 
dwellings. The rioters increased in numbers and during 
the six-day riot 15,000 miners participated. The local 
police force proved inadequate and national troops were 
called in. Many of the rioters were jailed but many of 
their demands were met. 

With such explosive potentialities in the labor situa- 
tion, the police were very anxious to use every oppor- 
tunity to keep the syndicalists out of the picture. One 
such opportunity presented itself in the "Red Flag Riot." 
In June 1908 the Katayama Socialists and the Kotoku 
syndicalists held a joint meeting to honor a co-worker 
who had just been released from prison. At the con- 
clusion of the meeting the syndicalists hoisted red flags 
in the street and sang a revolutionary song, "The Chain 
of Wealth," Suddenly the police appeared on the scene 
and arrested fourteen of the participants, imprisoning 
ten of them for from one to two-and-a-half years. 

The final crushing blow to the syndicalists and the 
socialist movement as a whole came two years later in 
1910, when the government, using the name of the Em- 


peror, performed an act of rank injustice. Without pre- 
senting a shred of evidence to the public, they arrested 
and tried in camera Kotoku and twenty-three others 
on a charge of conspiring against the Emperor's life. 
Kotoku and eleven others were condemned to death and 
strangled three days later, although a murderer was cus- 
tomarily given sixty days in prison before execution. 
Criticism of the trial was made le$e-maje$te. 

By painting the syndicalists as terrorists and would-be 
assassins of the Emperor, the government succeeded in 
turning the country against all Socialists. (It is said that 
a robber at Yamanashi prison committed suicide because 
his cellmate insulted him by calling him a Socialist.) 

The government then proceeded to act against the 
moderate Socialists. A few months after the trial Kata- 
yama's Socialist News was harassed into extinction by 
the authorities. All books on socialism were confiscated. 
Katayama himself was imprisoned for nine months for 
his association with a streetcar strike in Tokyo in 1912. 
After his release detectives dogged his every step; he 
was forced to leave Japan and come to the United States, 
where he resumed publication of the Heimin in New 
York. Even in the United States Japanese consuls and 
detectives hired by them made every effort to hamper his 
activities. His friends in this country were intimidated. 
One was actually kidnaped, sent to Japan and impris- 
oned for eighteen months. 


The period that ensued was one of bleak reaction. The 
young labor movement was decapitated and disorganized 
and its fighting spirit seemed to have disappeared forever. 

Against this background Bunji Suzuki, who had spent 
some time in the United States and was a friend of 


Samuel Gompers, organized in 1912 the innocuous 
Fraternal Society (Ywikai). It was supported by Baron 
Shibusawa, an important financier, and was in some 
ways a Christian reform movement, having begun with 
fourteen members of the congregation of Suzuki's Uni- 
tarian Church. Because its form of organization was that 
of a fraternal society seeking labor-management har- 
mony, it escaped the rigid suppression of the law. It 
was the only legal organization and it sheltered some de- 
voted labor fighters in its ranks. 

The Fraternal Society was not able to agitate for any 
reforms. However, protected by its legality, it became 
the only possible means through which labor leaders 
and the active rank and file were able to retain any con- 
tact with the defunct movement. As early as 1913, a 
young man named Tetsuo Nosaka was an active col- 
laborator of Bunji Suzuki. Later he became the well- 
known Communist leader Susumu Okano. Aided by 
funds contributed by philanthropists and the active work 
of young enthusiasts of all political shades, the Fraternal 
Society grew to 27,000 members in six years, with locals 
in Manchuria and Hokkaido. 


World War I gave the labor movement its great im- 
petus. Industries grew rich and powerful and hungry for 
labor. Between 1914 and 1919 the number of workers 
in factories and mines doubled from 1,125,000 to 
2,242,000. Prices doubled between 1914 and 1918 but 
wages rose only half as fast. The luxuries of the newly 
rich, the nankin, contrasted bitterly with the hard times 
of the workers. Strikes mounted rapidly from fifty in 
1914 with 8000 participants to 497 with 66,000 par- 


ticlpants in 1918, Japanese workers learned of the Rus- 
sian Revolution and became more confident of their own 

Labor emerged as a serious factor with the Rice Riots 
of 1918, the greatest revolt of the Japanese people in this 
century. To the widespread popular protest against the 
exorbitant price of rice a member of the Terauchi min- 
istry replied: "It is high time the people limited the con- 
sumption of rice through self -control." In August 1918 
a raid by fishwives on a rice-dealer's store in a village 
on the Japan Sea provided the spark. In Kobe rioters 
attacked rice stores, set fire to newspaper establishments, 
wrecked the homes of wealthy officials and finally ad- 
vanced on the police stations. In other cities and towns 
mobs of starving men, women and children broke into 
the town halls demanding the distribution of hoarded 
rice. Troops were called in to quell the disturbances. 
More than ninety civilians were killed, over 7000 ar- 
rested and a number incarcerated for life. 

While the Rice Riots were a mass national uprising, 
participated in by peasants, merchants and students, the 
city workers provided the core. Feeling was so high that 
the government felt it necessary to make concessions. 
The Police Law of 1900 was "reinterpreted" and dis- 
covered to mean that there would be no interference 
with "a wholesome development of labor unions," nor 
with strikes. 

A rash of strikes ensued. Most disturbing to the au- 
thorities were strikes in three military arsenals, another 
among government employees and a soldiers' mutiny. 
Strikes took new forms because the new unions had no 
money for strike benefit payments and the ill-paid work- 
men could not aif ord to lay off, unpaid, for long periods 
of time. Dockworkers whose demands for an eight-hour 


day and higher wages were refused reported to work as 
usual, went through all the customary motions but ac- 
complished no work of importance. After a week they 
won their demands. Some months later the Tokyo 
trolley-men managed to win their demands by repeatedly 
tying up traffic, leaving would-be passengers futilely 
waiting at trolley stops and damaging an extraordinary 
number of cars. 

The Communists and Anarchists leapt to the helm of 
the mushrooming trade unions and until 1923 almost 
completely dominated them. The Communists empha- 
sized political action to achieve socialist reconstruction 
and for a period advocated universal suffrage. The most 
important union in the Communist camp was the Fra- 
ternal Society, which had turned left after 1917. The 
name was changed to "the Japanese Federation of La- 
bor," and Bunji Suzuki was relegated to an honorary 
post. Its program called for freedom of trade-union ac- 
tivity, a minimum-wage law, an eight-hour day, social 
insurance, an end to compulsory night shifts, universal 
suffrage, equal pay for women, and equal pay for 
Koreans and Chinese. The Anarchists, on the other hand, 
believed that all that was necessary to achieve their aims 
was the overthrow of the economic system through 
strikes and that political action was unnecessary. 

The labor movement failed to make the startling ad- 
vances anticipated; rather it suffered a recession. Total 
membership decreased from over 250,000 in the autumn 
of 1919 to 100,000 in March 1920. While in 1918 most 
of the strikes were successful, by 1921 most of them 
ended in complete failures. The reason was simple. After 
1919 business dropped off and when men were dismissed, 
in almost every case, of course, the more active unionists 
were the first to go. The unions were weakened by loss 


of dues-paying members, while the employers had a 
tremendous pool of unemployed workers from which 
to select the most tractable. As unemployment under- 
mined the people's new-found confidence and strength 
the police felt less compelled to make any concessions, 
and resumed their uninhibited methods. 

In 1923 the left wing of the labor movement was 
greatly weakened by the elimination of a number of its 
leaders. The Communists, who had never been permit- 
ted to organize a legal party, had organized secretly in 

1922 and met in March 1923 to draw up a platform. 
The police discovered the names of the thirty delegates 
who attended the latter meeting and arrested them in 
June. Included among those arrested were Susumu 
Okano, Toshihiko Sakai and other leaders of the Com- 
munist wing of the labor movement. 

Under cover of the great earthquake of September 

1923 there was a general police round-up. At that time 
700 men, of whom about 120 were radicals, were jammed 
into prison, six to a cell, on charges of "improper speech 
and behavior, singing revolutionary songs and setting 
afloat wild rumors." Nine of the Communist labor lead- 
ers arrested were stabbed to death in jail and their corpses 
secretly burned. News of the murder was suppressed for 
thirty-seven days after the event and no punishment of 
any sort ever seems to have been inflicted on the guilty 
parties. Two weeks after the earthquake, moreover, 
Sakae Osugi, the intellectual leader of the Anarchists, 
his mistress and nephew were strangled in a Tokyo jail 
cell by a gendarmerie captain. 

The decimation of leaders and the wave of unemploy- 
ment in the wake of the earthquake enabled the rightists, 
with government help, to regain control of the Japanese 
Federation of Labor. Bunji Suzuki, "the Gompers of 


Japan," again emerged as its leader. The Federation ex- 
pelled the left-wing unions, which comprised a third of 
its membership. The latter then established an organiza- 
tion of their own, the Japanese Trade Union Council 
(Nippon Rodo Kumiai Hyogikai). 


In 1925 universal manhood suffrage was granted in 
Japan in an attempt to siphon off labor and peasant dis- 
content into the carefully controlled parliamentary sys- 
tem, The Diet had no real power and the major parties 
were Zaibatsu-controlled. Despite these limitations, the 
reform made voting possible for 13,000,000 persons in- 
stead of only 2,800,000, and many in the labor move- 
ment felt that it offered the possibility of working to- 
ward a solution to some of the problems which the weak 
and ineffective unions had been unable to solve. But 
here again police repression beat back the attempts of 
labor to express its needs. New and more severe "dan- 
gerous thoughts" legislation was passed at the same time, 
granting the police wide freedom of action to render the 
leftist organizations impotent and neutralize any in- 
fluence they might exert on the elections. 

In the autumn of 1925 the Peasants' Union, the con- 
servative Federation of Labor and ten independent 
unions drew up a platform for a Farmer-Labor Party 
which was announced on December 1, 1925 but only 
lasted three hours because the police felt its platform 
was too red in hue. Desperately its founders strove to 
purge it of every suggestion of radicalism, only to have 
it dissolved by the police because "it lacked sincerity." 

In 1926 another and wider attempt was made to unite 
farmers and laborers into one political party, but it re- 


suited in a three-way split, leftist, conservative and cen- 
trist. Each group set up its own party. 


The labor parties experienced their first tests in the 
prefectural elections of 1927 and the national elections 
of 1928, both during the incumbency of the notorious 
General Tanaka as Premier. The laborites were badly 
handicapped by factional conflicts among themselves, 
lack of funds, and particularly by the harassing of the 
police, employers and the thugs of the jingoist societies. 
Every labor politician who campaigned was almost cer- 
tain to be beaten up by the thugs or silenced, detained 
or imprisoned by the police. In the Ashio copper mining 
district, scene of the famous 1906 strike, the local min- 
ing company hired all the halls in order to prevent a 
laborite from speaking. 

Despite these impediments the labor parties managed 
to win a fair scattering of seats. In the prefectural elec- 
tions of 1927 they elected 28 candidates of 1500 to be 
elected, and registered a total vote of 273,000. In the Diet 
elections of 1928 the laborites won eight out of the 466 
seats and their total vote was increased to 438,000 
4.4 per cent of the total votes cast. The Communist- 
influenced Workers and Peasants Party won two seats, 
polling 188,000 votes, or 2 per cent of the votes cast. 
The Communists considered this their first real victory 
in Japan. 

Even these slight advances were of considerable con- 
cern to the government. General Tanaka was particu- 
larly irked because he was planning to intervene in 
China against the Nationalist forces which were march- 
ing northward. One of the principal points which left- 


wing propaganda emphasized was opposition to Japanese 
intervention in the Chinese Nationalist Revolution. Leaf- 
lets and placards denouncing Japanese imperialism in 
China were distributed by the left-wing laborites, and 
they even conducted agitation among the troops. 

In March and April 1928 the Tanaka government in- 
augurated the series of "Communist Raids," by arresting 
almost a thousand left-wing leaders, suppressed both the 
Workers and Peasants Party and the leftist Trade Union 
Council and terrorized Japanese workers for the next 
decade. In May 1928 Japanese troops landed in Shan- 
tung, China. 


The world now recognizes that September 18, 1931, 
the day when the Manchurian Incident broke out, 
marked the beginning of World War II. It also had an 
immediate and revealing effect upon the Japanese labor 
movement, dividing the unions and their affiliated parties 
into three streams: active supporters of aggression, timid 
apologists for it and militant opponents. 

Active support for the invasion of Manchuria was led 
by Katsumaro Akamatsu. Akamatsu had been a Social 
Democrat, but when the party refused to endorse his 
fascist position he and his followers split off in April 
1932 and founded the Japanese State Socialist Party and 
a new trade union center. Akamatsu trumpeted to the 
almost three million unemployed that every jobless Jap- 
anese, every landless peasant, every employee or trades- 
man trying to make an honest living would find "heaven 
on earth" in Manchuria. He also proclaimed that Japan 
was "liberating" Asia from the race discrimination and 
exploitation of Western imperialism. Although the work- 


ers were influenced by the prevalent nationalist sen- 
timent and the hope that conquest of foreign lands would 
improve their miserable lives somehow, Akamatsu suc- 
ceeded in massing only some 17,000 followers in his 
fascist labor unions in 1932, one fifth of total union mem- 
bership and 10,000 less than the harassed and per- 
secuted leftists. But by 1936, with the collaboration of 
the militarists, employers and the government and with 
the adherence of a large number of company unions, 
Akamatsu could claim a membership of 80,000, 

The conservative labor leaders, such as Professor Iso 
Abe and Bunji Suzuki, now emerged as apologists for 
aggression. Their political party was the Social Mass 
Party which succeeded to the Social Democratic Party 
in August 1932 as a result of the departure of the Aka- 
matsu "State Socialists" and the addition of centrist 
groups. There was also a parallel reorganization in the 
Federation of Labor, which was thereupon called the 
Japanese Trade Union Congress (Nippon Rodo Kumiai 
Kaigi). Its total membership was 275,000, or about three 
fourths of total union membership. 

The conservative labor leaders interspersed apologies 
for Japanese aggression with timid criticisms about the 
manner in which it was being carried out. Bunji Suzuki, 
who was "honored" by inclusion in the Matsuoka dele- 
gation to the League of Nations, attempted to "explain" 
Japan's Manchurian policy while touring Europe and 
the United States. When Japan withdrew from the 
League of Nations the Social Mass Party warned that 
Japan was "being isolated from the rest of the world," 
but instead of blaming militarism for this attacked the 
government's "aimless bureaucratic diplomacy." The 
Chief Secretary of the Social Mass Party criticized the 
government because it had taken "only Korea, Formosa 


and Manchuria, which so far have only been an expense 
to the treasury and have brought in small profit." 

In many cases, however, even the more conservative 
rank-and-file laborites did not agree with their leaders. 
Hamada, leader of the Seamen's Union, openly sup- 
ported militarist intervention in Manchuria and was ex- 
pelled from the union as a consequence. When Bunji 
Suzuki returned from his international tour of "ex- 
planation," he was greeted by a storm of criticism from 
Social Mass Party members. 

The apologetic approach of the conservative laborites 
to the questions of war was also carried over into their 
attitude on economic problems. A conservative leader, 
Suehiro Nishio, in April 1934 told the Japanese Trade 
Union Congress that " ... we must endure wage cuts 
with tears in our eyes. . . ." 

Organized opposition to continental expansion was 
centered in the left wing of the labor movement. As a 
result of the unwillingness of the leftists to work under 
the severe restrictions imposed by the police on legal 
unions, during the period from 1928 to 1934 there were 
no legal left-wing trade unions and activities were car- 
ried on through underground organizations. In Septem- 
ber 1932 a group of Tokyo metalworkers and a group 
of workers in a munitions plant were arrested for carry- 
ing on antiwar propaganda. In the Kanazawa area bor- 
dering the Japan Sea the wives of workers who had been 
mobilized brought their children to the barracks and 
demanded that the government feed them, since it was 
depriving them of their fathers. In the Himeji-Okayama 
district several wives and mothers lay down on the rails 
in front of a troop train and shouted: "We shall not 
let our husbands and sons go to their deaths!" On July 
26, 1932, the last day of a major trial of leftists, more 


than 1500 laborers staged demonstrations in Tokyo, 
waving red flags and shouting: "Down with the War of 
Aggression!" * Withdraw from Manchuria!" 

The leftist workers managed to continue their activity 
even in the army. On September 20, 1932, teachers and 
students of the Takarajima and Yokohama aviation 
schools were arrested for distributing leftist literature. 
The periodical Nippon, for January 19, 1933, stated: 
" . . . the Communists carried on propaganda in the 
First Aviation School, Tokyo, issued a publication the 
Soldiers' Friend, organized a special brigade which car- 
ried on its work during last year's maneuvers in Kansai, 
organized nuclei in certain units of the army, while the 
n*vy section almost succeeded in setting up a unit in 
Naval Headquarters itself." Nichi Nichi reported on 
March 9, 1933: "Several days ago in Shibuya [in Tokyo], 
the gendarmes arrested some soldiers suspected of par- 
ticipating in the activities of the Anti-Imperialist League, 
distribution of Red literature and propaganda among the 
troops." Little wonder that the military conscription au- 
thorities were particularly severe with industrial work- 
ers, in their attempts to screen out "unreliable" elements! 

These antiwar activities brought down a fresh series 
of arrests on the heads of the left laborites and other 
antiwar elements. In October 1932 an extraordinary 
roundup of leftists netted some 2200 prisoners. The 
police alleged that those arrested were the financial 
agents of the Communist Party and had been confer- 
ring on ways and means of financing the revolution. 
They had agreed, the police asserted, to secure money 
by entering the white slave trade, by blackmailing, kid- 
naping, inducing rich girls to run away from home with 
their parents' funds, forgery, counterfeiting, and bank 


The public was amazed by the presence of many- 
scions of wealthy families among the leftists arrested by 
the police. To minimize the impact of this fact, the 
Tokyo police chief solemnly informed the press that 
those aristocrats who turned "Communist" were suffer- 
ing from too active minds placed in too weak bodies! 

In 1934 the leftists apparently decided that there were 
important advantages to legality, despite the severe police 
restrictions, and in November of that year organized a 
National Council of Trade Unions (Zenkoku Rodo 
Kumai Hyogikai) and the Proletarian Party (Musanto*). 
The labor council began with only 14,000 members and 
an apparent determination to be as radical as possible 
while retaining the advantages of legality. By 1936 it 
had some 40,000 members. 

Both the National Council and the Proletarian Party 
were led by Kanju Kato, who, while not a Communist 
himself, was a militant leftist and was trusted and sup- 
ported by the Communists. Formerly a newspaperman, 
he became a strike leader of the Yawata Iron Foundry 
strike in 1920 and later a leader of the centrist Miners 
Federation. In 1935 he visited the United States at the 
invitation of the C.LO. 


During the years following the Manchurian Incident 
there was a growing disillusion with the supposed benefits 
of aggression. This was true of the middle classes and 
particularly true of the industrial laborers. Instead of 
creating a "heaven on earth" the cost of aggression was 
footed by the mass of the people. Real wages dropped 
23 per cent between 1931 and 1936; "take home pay" 
did not decline as much because of lengthened hours of 


labor. The number of labor disputes rose from 1600 In 
1935 to over 1900 in 1936, with a proportionate increase 
in participants. 

Public disappointment with the outcome of the Man- 
churian adventure and the general leftward movement 
of public opinion caused the opportunist leaders of the 
Social Mass Party to take a fairly vigorous antifascist 
and antimilitarist position during the very important 
Diet elections of 1936 and 1937. 

In the 1936 Diet campaign, the Social Mass Party 
called for a reduction of war expenditures and a new, 
more moderate foreign policy towards China. The 
Proletarian Party, under Kanju Kato's leadership, ad- 
vocated a "popular front" of all democratic, antimili- 
tarist elements. The police replied by pronouncing a ban 
on the use of the words "popular front." Significantly, 
both the Social Mass and the Proletarian parties increased 
their popular support on the basis of their antiwar pro- 
grams! The Social Mass Party received over 500,000 
votes and picked up fifteen seats, rising from three to 
eighteen. The Proletarians achieved their first representa- 
tion nationally when they succeeded in electing three 
members to the Diet, including Kato himself. The 
MinseitOj which was still the less warlike of the two 
major parties, gained seventy-eight seats, while the ag- 
gressive Seiyukai lost sixty-eight. 

This demonstration of widespread support for a peace 
program precipitated, just six days later, the military- 
fascist revolt of February 26, 1936, the largest and 
bloodiest coup d'etat which Japan had yet witnessed. 
Although this revolt did not succeed, it was a warning 
of the lengths to which the military extremists were 
willing to go. 

The opponents of militarism attempted, within the 


limitations imposed by Japanese police terror, to indicate 
their continued opposition. In 1936, for the first time in 
seventeen years, the May Day celebration was forbidden, 
but nevertheless the leftists held scattered, illegal demon- 
strations with workers demanding political freedom, the 
nationalization of monopolies and the ending of aggres- 
sion in China. Antiwar leaflets were distributed in the 
army. In the Diet, some members of the Social Mass 
Party, swept along on the wave of peace sentiment, de- 
nounced the government policy in China, sharply criti- 
cized the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Anti-Comintern Pact, 
and advocated a nonaggression pact with the U.S.S.R. 

In the general elections of April 30, 1937, a bare ten 
weeks before Japan renewed its invasion of China, the 
drift toward military fascism was a clear-cut issue. The 
outstanding result of the election was the great increase 
in the Social Mass Party which, as a result of its anti- 
militarist election campaign, became the third largest 
party in the Diet, polling nearly a million votes and 
doubling its representation from eighteen to thirty-seven 
seats. Kanju Kato, of the Proletarian Party, was again 
elected from a working-class constituency in Tokyo, 
with the largest majority polled by any candidate; five 
other proletarians were successful There can be little 
doubt that these indications of increasing antimilitarism 
in Japan, together with the increasing co-operation of 
the Nationalist and Communist forces in China, were 
the two most important catalytic agents precipitating 
the China Incident in July 1937. 


Japan's ruling oligarchy utilized the new "war emer- 
gency" to suppress all opposition with ruthless thorough-* 


ness. Under fire-eating Admiral Nobumasa Suetsugu, 
Home Minister In Prince Konoye's first Cabinet, whole- 
sale arrests of opponents of militarism were made In 
December 1937. Kanju Kato and 400 other leaders of 
the National Council of Trade Unions and the Proletarian 
Party were arrested and both organizations were sum- 
marily dissolved. Also arrested were thirty prefectural 
and municipal representatives, four former university 
professors and Baroness Ishimoto. 

The outbreak of the China war enabled the more 
nationalistic leaders of the Social Mass Party to reverse 
the trend toward antimilitarism which had dominated 
party policies in the previous three years. Under cover 
of the "national emergency," pro-militarist elements were 
able to come to the fore in the leadership and swing the 
organization behind the China Invasion. In the Diet the 
party supported the war, criticized the government for 
its failure to insure the livelihood of the families of the 
soldiers at the front and called for good treatment of the 
North China peasants by the army so as to win them to 
the Japanese cause. Bunji Suzuki visited the United 
States in an effort to influence the American labor move- 
ment against taking hostile action toward Japan. 

In moving into this pro-war position the leaders of 
the Social Mass Party were not responding to any demand 
on the part of its followers. This was demonstrated in 
the Tokyo municipal elections held at the end of No- 
vember, 1937. The party elected only ten of its forty-two 
candidates whereas In 1936 it had elected two thirds of 
its candidates. 

The left laborites and Communists continued to op- 
pose militarism. On July 8, 1937, the day after the be- 
ginning of the China Incident, the Communists issued 
a statement denouncing Japan's attack as an "unjust 


robbers' war" which every Japanese should oppose. 
Leaflets containing this statement were scattered in 
Tokyo, Kobe, Osaka and other Industrial centers. It is 
estimated that an average of one arrest per day for ac- 
tivity against the war occurred in the two years follow- 
ing the outbreak of the China Incident. In addition to 
this illegal form of antiwar activity, the leftists also 
carried out a legal form of antiwar struggle, the de- 
mand for subsidies for soldiers' families, payment of 
soldiers' wages during their military service and similar 
activities. They were so successful In agitating among 
the members of some of the conservative unions that 
the pro-war leaders of some of these unions were forced 
to give voice to these demands in order to retain their 

The conditions for antiwar activity on the part of 
labor rapidly became more and more difficult. March 
1938 saw the passage of the National Mobilization Law, 
which authorized the government to impose compul- 
sory labor service, regulate wages and prohibit strikes 
and trade unions. In July 1938 the government-supported 
"labor front" got under way. It was called the National 
Industrial Service Association (Sangyo Hokoku Kai, 
abbreviated as Sampo). In 1940 all the labor unions were 
abolished, their treasuries confiscated and their members 
ordered to join the Sampo, which was controlled directly 
by the Minister of Welfare. The workers in each plant 
were ordered to form a "co-operative body," with "the 
manager of the enterprise as the leader." One of the 
Sampo's first acts was to send delegations to visit Ger- 
many and Italy. 

In the same year the Social Mass Party and the re- 
maining political parties, the only other legal organiza- 
tions capable of being political vehicles of popular dis- 


content, were abolished and replaced by the totalitarian 
Imperial Rule Assistance Association. 

Despite ruthless repression, despite the fact that all 
their organizations were crushed, the workers neverthe- 
less carried on a series of bitter struggles in 1941, on the 
eve of war. Although there were Westerners in many of 
the areas involved, reports of these strikes did not reach 
this country until 1943 when the Allied Labor News 
correspondent in Chungking obtained them from Jap- 
anese prisoners of war in Chungking. These prisoners 
were members of the Japanese And- War League in 
Chungking and claimed to have been participants in the 
strikes. The fact that these strikes ^ere not noted by 
Westerners in Japan at that time is explainable by the 
strict police surveillance both of foreigners and of war 
Industries, and also by the likelihood that the strikes 
were of the type used by the Japanese workers at the 
end of the last Avar. In this type of strike the workers 
stay on the job and go through all the motions of work- 
ing but do not actually accomplish anything. 

Labor unrest in 1941 was the cumulative product of 
the steady decline in living standards. In 1939 a ceiling 
on wages was instituted, to be followed by a law pre- 
venting labor mobility and finally, in 1942, by labor 
conscription. At first these measures were merely pro- 
claimed and their enforcement was perfunctory, but 
gradually the screws were tightened. 

The first great strike apparently broke out in Kobe 
in April 1941. According to the story compiled by Jap- 
anese war prisoners in China the direct cause of the 
Kobe strike was dissatisfaction with the workers' food 
rations. Under the new system instituted that year each 


worker was entitled to 2.7 go (one go equals three tenths 
of a pint) of rice daily, against a normal peacetime con- 
sumption of four go for men and three for women. 
Furthermore, because of shortages the amount actually- 
given the workers was about 15 per cent less. At the 
same time the working day had been increased from 
between ten and twelve to sixteen hours with com- 
pulsory night shifts twice every week. 

Workers' representatives from various plants met 
secretly to consider the situation and decided to launch 
a movement with three slogans: "Shorten working hours 
and 'increase wages/' "Give us 2,7 go of rice as you 
promised" and "A voluntary night shift." These de- 
mands were presented to the management and when 
they were refused a form of sit-down strike was started. 
The workers came to work but they stopped the ma- 
chines and did nothing. 

Despite police pressure the deadlock continued for 
five days and the owners showed no signs of weaken- 
ing. Another slogan then appeared: "The plant ad- 
ministrations have no sincerity break the machinery." 
Systematic sabotage began and more than one hundred 
lathes are reported to have been smashed in the Kawa- 
saki Shipbuilding Company dockyards alone. Every 
effort was made to suppress news of these developments. 
The papers were not allowed to publish a word and the 
police made arrests of people who were even heard 
talking about it. 

In the week following the strike the police questioned 
20,000 workers in order to identify the ringleaders. 
After a thorough comb-out, four men were accused of 
fomenting the strike and shot. Twenty-four of the more 
active workers were sentenced to transportation from 
the country and not heard of again. 


Japanese war prisoners declared that another large- 
scale strike broke out at Nagoya in August 1941, involv- 
ing the Mitsubishi aircraft plant and other factories in 
that city. As at Kobe, sabotage played a prominent part 
in the strike. It is reported that striking workers took 
airplane parts out of the plants, broke them and threw 
them into ditches. The strike was settled by partial con- 
cessions to the workers, but after work was resumed, 
numerous arrests were made. 

In September 1941 3000 of the 60,000 workers at the 
great Kokura arsenal in North Kyushu are reported to 
have struck, demanding shorter hours and improved 
working conditions. It is reported that there were no 
arrests and no reprisals after this strike because the War 
Ministry itself recognized that the degree of overwork 
was so high at the arsenal that production was impeded 
instead of speeded up. There may also have been a desire 
on the part of the militarists to show that they, unlike 
the private capitalists, were willing to listen to legitimate 

There is also a report of a large-scale strike in October 
in Tsurumi, the heavy industry section of Yokohama. A 
special characteristic of this strike was joint action be- 
tween the industrial workers and salaried employees. 
Not much is known about this incident except that 
repression was severe and many participants were trans- 
ported overseas for work on fortifications. 

Wataru Kaji, leader of the Japanese Anti-War League 
at Chungking, has stated that these 1941 strikes had an 
international significance, because they came at a time 
when the militarists were presumably deciding whether 
to strike north against the Soviet Union or south and east 
against Britain and the United States. Kaji declared that 
these strikes led many of Japan's leaders to believe that 


an attack on the U.S.S.R. Involving an all-out con- 
tinental war close to home, with large-scale bombing of 
Japan and Soviet political warfare amid unsettled internal 
conditions was not wise until order within the country- 
was secured. On the other hand, a war against Britain 
and the United States, fought on distant battlefronts s 
would give the militarists advantages on the home front 
because they could claim that Japan was fighting for 
her life against economic strangulation and for the 
"liberation" of the subject peoples of Asia. Such slogans 
undoubtedly have influence among ordinary Japanese 
with no access to unbiased sources of news. 


Even before December 7, 1941, Japanese industrial 
workers labored under conditions difficult for the 
Westerner to conceive. But after that infamous date 
the workers of Japan were reduced to slavery, slow 
starvation and inhuman toil. 

Labor conscription was put into effect after March 
1942, and steadily increased in scope until the govern- 
ment was able to assign men and women over twelve 
years of age and up to seventy to any industry in any 
part of the Japanese Empire. The method of conscrip- 
tion is the same as that used by the army, except that 
draft notices are printed on red cards for soldiers and 
white for workers. 

"White card service'* became a word of horror to 
Japanese workers. It meant their removal from place to 
place without regard for their family situation and pay 
fixed at a daily maximum of 1.60 yen (forty cents, 
United States currency) for men and one yen (twenty- 
five cents) for women. In normal times, before inflation 


set in, this was approximately the minimum wage. Skilled 
workers often earned five yen ($1.25) a day, but with 
the advent of conscription they could be arbitrarily 
shifted from their old jobs into conscript categories 
where no amount of experience could get them even one 
third of this sum. 

Of all conscript labor, the lot of the workers in the 
scrapped and sold factories was the worst. Where their 
skills were directly useful these workers were literally 
sold with their plants. They were placed unconditionally 
at the disposal of the purchasing trusts who paid them 
the conscript wage regardless of their previous status. 
Those without important usable skills were sent on the 
same day to training camps where they underwent a 
forced course in vocational training under military dis- 
ciplineagain without a single day to arrange their 
own affairs. 

One result of the "white card service" was a wave of 
suicides. One suicide in Kobe attracted wide attention. 
A young man who was supporting his grandmother and 
two younger sisters received his white card ordering him 
to depart the next day. The same evening he wrote a 
letter to the governor of the prefecture, after which the 
entire family lay down on the railway track and was 
killed. Thousands of Kobe workers turned out for the 
funeral; and despite police surveillance, speakers at the 
ceremony poured out their indignation and told of 
similar episodes. 

The pitifully small sums earned by the conscripted 
workers bought them less and less in the way of goods. 
Taxes and prices of daily necessities rose sharply and 
many goods were only obtainable on the black market at 
several times the official prices. In the black market a 
pair of shoes had risen to the equivalent of 135 American 


dollars by February 1945, or more than eleven months* 
salary for the average conscripted worker! 

There was a continual deterioration In the amount 
and quality of food so that by the autumn of 1944 
Premier Koiso virtually admitted that Japan had made 
the transition from bare subsistence to slow starvation. 
The government had requisitioned all foodstuffs and the 
police rationed them out to the people, half of the ration 
being rice and the rest beans and other staples. But a 
day's ration was only enough for one meal and those 
who could afford it had to buy wheat flour and other 
food from the black market at many times the normal 
price. In the autumn of 1944 Dome* admitted in a 
broadcast that the rising infant mortality rate was due 
to the acute food shortage. The mothers lacked nutri- 
tion and consequently had no milk. In an attempt to 
allay mass unrest the Metropolitan police established 
soup kitchens, but even the Tokyo radio admitted that 
there was "not much nourishment in a hodgepodge con- 
sisting mostly of water and a few stringy shavings of 
eggplant"! In 1945, under the impact of increased bomb- 
ings and decreased shipping, mass starvation deepened. 

These inadequately fed workers were compelled to 
work a minimum of twelve hours and frequently as much 
as sixteen. Many industries worked three sixteen-hour 
shifts in forty-eight hours. The average worker was 
allowed only two days of rest each month. Industrial 
exhaustion developed to new and fantastic degrees. 
Workers began to show symptoms of various forms of 
insanity on a mass scale. Japanese scientists considered 
this phenomenon learnedly for a time, then came to a 
discovery that most of the cases recovered if given a 
sedative and left alone to sleep which some did for 
three or four days without waking. Despite the risks in- 


volved, the doctors turned In a report stating flatly that 
the only thing wrong with the men was that they 
worked too hard and slept too little. 

Exhaustion and the assignment of Inexperienced work- 
ers to complicated jobs produced a terribly high rate of 
accidents and sickness throughout Japan. A prisoner of 
war captured in China who worked in one of the Mitsu- 
bishi electrical factories told how he himself had seen 
fifty accidents happen in one day, including seven deaths 
and thirteen serious injuries. 

Tuberculosis, always the great scourge of Japanese 
industrial laborers, mowed down hundreds of thousands. 


Confronted with such conditions, Japanese labor 
found the energy to fight back. The full story, of course, 
can only be told after the war. Much of the information 
on this subject made available during the course of the 
war came from the Japanese People's Emancipation 
League and therefore might be discounted in some 
measure. However, the American and British observers 
who visited Yenan in the summer and fall of 1944 found 
that the League headquarters there had complete files of 
smuggled Japanese magazines and newspapers to which 
the visitors were given free access. These newspapers and 
periodicals had been culled by the League for items in- 
dicating popular resistance to Japanese militarism, and a 
similar effort had been made to obtain this type of in- 
formation from Japanese prisoners captured by the 
Eighth Route Army. 

The following evidences of unrest include only those 
which are substantiated in the Japanese press or else- 


The first evidence of labor resistance after the attack 
on Pearl Harbor was a strike for shorter hours at the 
Kawasaki dockyard in Kobe in the spring of 1942, under 
Communist leadership. That this strike was not an iso- 
lated instance is evidenced by official Japanese govern- 
ment figures which admit to over 250 disputes during 

In the Diet session of February 1943 the Home 
Minister stated: "It is regrettable that although the Com- 
munist movement has gradually diminished since the 
China Incident, it has still not been completely obliter- 

Labor discontent was apparently of great concern to 
those of the government's supporters who were in close 
contact with industrial workers. In the spring of 1943, 
at a conference of the Imperial Rule Assistance Associa- 
tion, a delegate from an industrial district made the fol- 
lowing statement: "The feeling of the Japanese people 
toward co-operation in winning the war is weakening. 
Is not the working class the only group that makes 
sacrifices, while the people on top do nothing and make 

Labor resistance also took forms other than strikes, 
because strikes almost inevitably exposed the strike 
leaders to police retribution. Perhaps the next most 
important weapon was absenteeism. Absenteeism is just 
as effective in preventing production, and just as much 
of an economic sacrifice for poorly paid workers. Quot- 
ing the Japanese industrial magazine Diamond, XCNR, 
the Yenan Communists' transmitter, reported that in 
1943 10 per cent of the workers in Japan stayed away 
from the factory for no apparent reason. In 1944 it was 
claimed that 15 per cent of the workers in 761 factories 
did not go to work regularly. These figures were more 


than supported in a surprising talk to Japanese Home 
and Empire radio audiences on October 26, 1944, by 
Dr. Isaku Tsukada. Dr. Tsukada, according to the 
monitored broadcast, made the startling disclosure that 
in some factories absenteeism ran as high as 40 per cent! 
He attributed this poor showing largely to malingering 
on the part of the workers. During his investigation of 
workers absent from factories for periods of two weeks 
or more, the doctor asserted that "one third of those who 
were absent saying that they were suffering from beriberi 
or pneumonia had no physical breakdown and were per- 
sons who could work very well." The term "absenteeism" 
as used by Dr. Tsukada was not quite accurate, because 
he apparently included not only time lost by staying 
away from the plant, but also the total man hours lost 
due to absence from the worker's post in the factory. 
Such malingering would certainly seem to indicate a 
lack of enthusiasm for the war among a considerable 
number of industrial laborers and perhaps a conscious 

Station XCNR contributed more material in this direc- 
tion with quotations from the well-known Japanese 
magazine Oriental Economist which reported that work- 
ers in the Kawasaki Shipbuilding yard in Kobe frequently 
asked for leave and even when they went to work 
purposely slowed down the pace or even damaged the 
machines by "pretending to be careless." Some workers 
were reported to have wasted and stolen raw materials. 
On this point the magazine Diamond was quoted as 
having said in its March 1944 issue that "in several cases 
as much as 40 per cent of (the) raw material was 
wasted or stolen." 

The outstanding suggestion of industrial sabotage by 
Japanese workers was contained in an article which 


appeared in the Asahi Shimbun of July 29, 1944. This 
article warned that the "spirit of personnel producing 
planes must be recreated" and quoted a statement by 
Major General Masamitsu Mori of the army air force in 
which he attacked the shoddy quality of Japanese air- 
craft. The statement of General Mori suggests sabotage 
rather than carelessness. He declared that although a 
"factory that could manufacture two hundred planes last 
year can now increase output to five hundred planes, I 
want to inform you that this increase is only to be found 
in the factory's books. . . . Many facts which I have 
seen or heard cannot but make me warn producers in 
the rear . . . To speak of it is heartbreaking the in- 
creased number of planes are not of any use at the front, 
but instead only increase casualties of our flying officers, 
thus wasting [the] money and resources of the country. 
When five hundred planes are transported to the front, 
it is discovered that 10 per cent of them are not up to 
the mark, and this is only the number discovered by test 
flights. During fighting, the number not up to the mark 
is more. I can tell you that our planes, after flying a few 
hours, usually leak oil or have engine trouble, so that 
very often, when setting out to bomb or to attack enemy 
planes, they have to fly back when halfway or are even 
lost and damaged on the way. So this cannot but affect 
our plan of fighting. . . ." 

It is perhaps significant that Kanju Kato, antifascist 
labor leader, was imprisoned once again shortly after 
this. He had been arrested at the end of 1937 but was 
released later after promising to give up political ac- 
tivities. In November 1944 he was again arrested and 
sentenced to prison for three years. It seems reasonable 
to assume that the rising tide of political unrest had made 
it impossible for him to keep his promise. 


In order to counter Increasing unrest and absenteeism 
among the industrial workers, the Labor Division of the 
Japanese police was greatly strengthened. This division 
was particularly important after the start of the great 
fire-bomb attacks on Japanese industrial centers early 
in 1945, because the destruction and temporary break- 
down of authority gave additional opportunities for 
absenteeism, sabotage, and the circulation of illicit propa- 
ganda. The importance attributed by Japanese ruling 
circles to police control of such labor activities is in- 
dicated by the fact that when the Emperor made a tour 
of the damaged areas in Tokyo on March 18, 1945, he 
paid a special and unprecedented visit to the Labor 
Division of the Metropolitan Police Board. 


There can be little doubt that the Japanese labor move- 
ment will play an important role in the postwar world. 
Trade unions have never attained great numerical 
strength in the past because of severe repression and the 
availability of unlimited supplies of cheap labor from 
the impoverished rural areas, plus the additional under- 
mining effect of constant factional conflicts. For these 
reasons, labor unions have never organized more than 
8 per cent of all the industrial laborers. 

But a rudimentary underground labor movement has 
apparently persisted and is certain to grow as the forces 
of repression weaken. Therefore we are faced with the 
immediate and long-run question of what the United 
Nations' attitude should be toward the Japanese in- 
dustrial laborer and his organizations. 

During the past half-century the labor movement in 
Japan has provided the most militant and consistent anti- 


war elements. While we cannot expect military govern- 
ment to be popular among Japanese workers, there is 
every indication that these elements will co-operate with 
occupation authorities in rooting out their common 
enemies the military fascists and their collaborators. It 
is only just and wise that we co-operate with those who 
have demonstrated their opposition to militarism by 
their past actions. We should view with suspicion turn- 
coat opportunists like Bunji Suzuki should they offer 
their assistance. We can co-operate, however, with 
moderate labor leaders who have indicated their opposi- 
tion to war by retiring and refusing to aid the govern- 
ment. We should also enlist the aid of those left laborites 
like Kanju Kato who have braved jail, torture and death 
to oppose Japanese aggression. 

A large portion of the labor leaders who have resisted 
the militarists are leftists. It would be not only unjust 
but inexpedient to reject their aid on that score, because 
they command a considerable following, and a co-opera- 
tive attitude on the part of the Japanese working people 
will simplify many of the tasks of the occupation au- 
thorities. Furthermore, although the political affiliations 
of the labor leaders are leftist, the demands which they 
express are almost ridiculously moderate by Western 
standards: an eight-hour day, a six-day week, improved 
working conditions and pay, freedom of speech, press 
and organization, and freedom to picket and strike. 

We must not overlook the fact that the fulfillment of 
these demands not only favors the industrial laborers of 
Japan, but will also be in the interest of the prosperity 
and peace of the entire Pacific. An increase in the income 
of the Japanese worker will narrow the difference in 
labor costs between Japan and the other industrial 
powers, help diminish cutthroat competition, and make 


possible the exchange of goods on a more equitable basis. 

The elimination of cheap labor in Japan will also re- 
duce the incentives for war. We have noted that one 
of the most important elements propelling Japan to war 
has been the low income of the great majority of the 
population, which has made it impossible for them to 
purchase any substantial proportion of Japanese produc- 
tion. This lack of an internal market has made necessary 
aggressive trade competition and war. The remedy, there- 
fore, lies in large part in enabling the industrial popula- 
tion, as well as other depressed groups, to constitute a 
stable internal market by increasing their proportion of 
Japanese national income. 

Since working with the labor movement is likely to 
provide us with expert assistance in eliminating mili- 
tarism and establishing peace and prosperity in Japan, 
it would seem merely enlightened self-interest on our 
part to do so. 



A postwar antimllitarlst government, under- 
taking the herculean task of re-educating Japan, will have 
to consider the work of both Wataru Kaji and Susumu 
Okano, the Japanese antifascists who have achieved such 
striking results in converting Japanese prisoners of war 
in Chungking and Yenan. There are few Japanese who 
can speak with more authority on the possibility of re- 
claiming the Japanese mind from the corruption of 
military fascism. 


The Chinese Government has lauded his work, but 
the Imperial Japanese Government itself has given the 
best tributes to the effectiveness of Wataru Kaji. The 
Japanese military police offered generous rewards for 
his head. The Japanese air force twice attempted to pin- 
point his residence in China. And Japanese newspapers in 
Shanghai and Japan devoted columns to reports of the 
activities of Kaji and his converts. 

Kaji was born in 1903 in Kyushu; his parents were 
prosperous landlords with twelve tenants and his grand- 
father had been a samurai of the Satsuma clan. In his 
early youth Kaji wanted to be a naval officer, but when 
he reached Tokyo Imperial University in 1923 he de- 
voted himself to literature exclusively. The University 
was a liberal institution in those days with intense dis- 
cussions raging on all sorts of political and economic 
questions. Through liberal friends he gradually became 
aware of the social implications of literature and got 


caught up in the swirl of political argument. His first 
organizing activity was caused by his classmate Prince 
YamanashI All the students were obliged to bow to the 
floor, button their collars and do reverence before this 
member of the Imperial Household, who was ensconced 
at an elaborate desk set high above the others. It got 
under Kaji's skin and he organized a boycott of any class 
attended by the Prince. This boycott was actually en- 
forced for three years. At the university, Kaji joined Pro- 
fessor Yoshino's New Man Society and in 1926 organ- 
ized a Society for the Investigation of New Literature. 

After graduation in 1927, Kaji joined the Workers and 
Peasants Party and did organizational work in Niigata, 
a hotbed of peasant discontent. Kaji helped form a com- 
munal school and helped in the organization of peasant 
unions which during this period attained considerable 

He was also very active as a leader of leftist writers. 
In 1928 a monthly magazine, Fighting Flag, was started 
and Kaji was one of its editors. By 1930 it attained a 
circulation of 30,000, mainly among intellectuals and 
trade union leaders. Nominally the magazine was legal 
but the police sought in every way to suppress it. Copies 
were often confiscated in bookstores and in many places 
the magazine had to be distributed in secret. As a result 
of the confiscation of its issues and the arrest of its editors, 
the magazine was forced to close in 1931. 

Kaji was one of the most active members of the Fed- 
eration of Revolutionary Artists and Writers. From 1927 
to 1932 he was a member of its central executive com- 
mittee and from 1932 to 1934 he was general secretary. 
After 1930, however, the federation, like other leftist 
groups, was hampered and weakened by systematic 


Kaji paid for his activities with repeated jailings. He 
was arrested for the first time in 1930, charged with 
being a member of the Anti-Imperialist League. To make 
him confess the police beat him across the legs for two 
hours every day for a month. He was finally released, 
but thereafter was periodically rearrested and given short 
sojourns in prison. When free he carried on his work as 
best he could. Dozens of his friends were tortured to 
death in various prisons in 1932 and 1933 but apparently 
this fact did not undermine his courage. 

In 1933 Kaji was arrested for the third time, because 
his card was found among the effects of his best friend, 
Takiji Kobayashi, the celebrated short story writer, 
who was tortured to death by the Tokyo police. "In 
Tokyo," Kaji told Edgar Snow, "there are over eighty 
police jails, and each one can keep a prisoner without any 
trial for two months. The police did not charge me with 
any crime, I was just shifted from one jail to another. 
The filthy little cells *held an average of twenty people. 
Most of them were sick. I was beaten in every jail. The 
police would bind me up and lift me from the floor, beat 
me to unconsciousness, then revive me and beat me 

In February 1934 he was imprisoned once more and 
not released until November 1935. When he emerged 
from prison unexpectedly he realized that he had been 
released only because the police hoped he would lead 
them to his comrades. He lived for months in isola- 
tion and terror of re-arrest and realized that he could 
no longer work successfully in Japan. 

Lie most antimilitarists, Kaji understood that the 
power of the Japanese autocracy would only be broken 
if it met with severe military defeat. It became obvious 
that Japan's next military advance would come in China, 


so he determined to go there. The authorities would not 
grant him a passport. An opportunity for escape came 
at last in January 1936 when he disguised himself as a 
samurai actor in a traveling drama company and was 
able to reach Shanghai. The Japanese authorities finally 
discovered him in Shanghai, but by that time Kaji had 
found a powerful protector, the famous Chinese short 
story writer Lu Hsun, who informed the Japanese that 
Kaji had come to China solely to study Chinese literature 
with him and must not be disturbed. 

Kaji stayed in Shanghai for a year and a half, during 
which period he married Yuki Ikeda, a beautiful young 
antifascist who had led an equally harrowing life. While 
still in college she had become active in the Christian re- 
form movement of Toyohiko Kagawa, and later worked 
with the liberal Baroness Ishimoto. Miss Ikeda had been 
imprisoned more times than Kaji for her antimilitarist 
activities and had undergone severe torture. Once her 
inquisitors broke all the fingers of both her hands. She 
was a woman of frail health and was an invalid for weeks 
after each imprisonment, but all the punishment failed 
to "reform" her. She continued her underground organi- 
zation of Japanese women laborers until pressure on 
active antimilitarists became so great that she transferred 
her activities to China. 

When the China war broke out in July 1937 the Jap- 
anese authorities almost nabbed both of them. Kaji and 
his wife fled at once to the French Concession, where 
Japanese secret service police soon found them and 
watched their activities. Kaji wanted to work with the 
Chinese but the Chinese mistrusted him, fearing a subtle 
Japanese ruse. The Japanese demanded that the au- 
thorities of the French Concession hand him over, and 
the situation looked desperate because the Japanese mili- 


tary forces in Shanghai had In the meantime blocked the 
last land escape. Kaji and his wife were planning to kill 
themselves when at the last minute Rewi Alley, who was 
later to become foreign adviser to the Chinese Industrial 
Co-operatives, secured passage for them to Hong Kong. 

They spent four months in Hong Kong with Japanese 
secret service men watching and threatening them. Kaji 
wrote many articles for Chinese newspapers and maga- 
zines and at last the Chinese allowed him to come into 
the interior. After a hair-raising last-minute escape from 
Japanese agents, who tried to kidnap him in Hong Kong, 
they reached Hankow, then the capital, in March 1938. 

Kaji was attached to the propaganda section of the 
Chinese Army Political Department and worked under 
Kuo Mo-jo, the Chinese left-wing writer and archxolo- 
gist who had returned from exile in Japan about the 
time war broke out. Kaji was "psychological adviser'* 
to the section, which was staffed with scores of Japanese- 
educated Chinese who wrote propaganda for distribu- 
tion among Japanese soldiers and civilians in China, 
Manchuria and even Japan. Kaji had his hand in every- 
thing, including a leaflet which Chinese airplanes dropped 
on Tokyo in that period before their airfields near the 
coast were captured. 

The Japanese army answered this political warfare by 
heavily bombing the building which housed the Political 
Department. Scores were killed and Kaji and his wife 
were almost completely buried. When they were dug 
out it was discovered that a missile had missed penetrating 
the roof directly above their heads by only a few inches. 
Shortly thereafter Japanese bombers aimed for the house 
in which the Kajis were living. Flying low, Japanese 
bombers circled their house and then dropped their 
bombs, hitting the house without injuring the Kajis. An 


investigation revealed that a Chinese traitor had signaled 
the location to the enemy planes with a large mirror. 
After this disconcerting experience they kept their ad- 
dress a secret. 

In Hankow the Kajis ran head on into the problem of 
breaking through the heavy indoctrination of Japanese 
prisoners. As the American forces discovered later, Jap- 
anese captives were thoroughly convinced that capture 
was a disgrace and that the Chinese would cut their 
hearts out or roast them alive. Even when captured 
badly wounded they would attempt suicide by stabbing 
themselves with surgical instruments or jumping from 
moving trains or down the sides of cliffs. If they didn't 
succeed they became desperately homesick and lonely or 
fearful that if they fell into Japanese hands again they 
would be executed. 

In Hankow and later in Chungking Kaji and his wife 
worked tirelessly on this problem. With infinite patience 
they attempted to alter the captives' ideas concerning the 
character of the Chinese and the justness of Japan's war 
aims. They were gratified if they succeeded only in 
taking the prisoners* minds off suicide. In one case Kaji 
had to cure the suicide obsession twice. After curing a 
spirited captive of his initial desire to commit suicide, 
Kaji began the process of changing his ideas about the 
cause of the war, Japan's "divine mission" and the re- 
mainder of the military fascist dogma with which he had 
been instilled. The captive clung to his old ideas but 
apparently had enough innate honesty to begin to see the 
truth of Kaji's arguments. After about a year he came to 
a point where the next logical step was the rejection of 
his old ideas. He could not bring himself to do this 
and, terribly upset by this conflict between his old and 
new ideas, attempted suicide again. The attempt was 


unsuccessful and Kaji helped nurse him back to health 
and again took up the thread of persuasion. 

In a number of cases Kaji's persistence was more fruit- 
fully rewarded. One of the outstanding examples was 
Seisaku Shiomi, who, up to December 1938, was secre- 
tary to the Japanese consulate in Hanoi, Indo-China, and 
at the same time a member of the Japanese secret service. 
He was captured by Chinese troops while on a spying 
tour of the frontier between China and Indo-China. Kaji 
worked on him, talking to him and giving him books to 
read, and after a year he decided to participate in the 
antifascist movement and became a very effective radio 
propagandist. "I used to believe that I was blessed to have 
been born Japanese," Shiomi told Agnes Smedley, "and 
I thought my government was doing the right thing in 
invading China. I could not help seeing that we Japanese 
were the only men of color who had not been conquered 
by the white race. The militarists of my country were 
able to use this fact to inspire us with the belief that we 
were fighting for the liberation of all colored people. 
But since I have studied and thought, it has become clear 
to me that our militarists merely wish to take the place 
of the white imperialists. It took a long time for me to 
change my whole life's training and take a step which 
the Japanese brand as treason. However, I see that the 
rulers of Japan, like those of most other countries, merely 
use the common people as sources of wealth in time of 
peace and as cannon fodder in time of war. Now I 
broadcast in Japanese to the Japanese troops and people, 
trying to explain what I believe. I work for real peace 
and justice and my mind is at rest." 

In addition to persuading those already captured, 
Kaji was active in front-line propaganda. He and a group 
of his converts began doing front-line loudspeaker propa- 

. 240 

ganda at the end of 1939 on the Kwangsi front. The 
moment was dramatic. The first sound from the loud- 
speaker silenced the rifle and machine-gun fire and 
thereafter he was able to broadcast his denunciations of 
militarism without interruption. For six successive nights 
Kaji and his associates urged their compatriots to lay 
down their arms. None of the Japanese units surrendered, 
but the next day the Chinese drove the enemy back 
with little difficulty. 

A subsequent verbal bombardment on the Ichang 
front was so effective that Lieutenant General Sonobe, 
then commander of the Japanese troops in that area, 
made a personal visit to hear it. The Sixth Company of 
the 104-th Regiment was placed under arrest, and the 
company commander court-martialed when the General 
found the men weakening under the impact of the anti- 
militarist propaganda. 

This psychological warfare was not always waged 
without cost to the Japanese antifascists. One of those 
who was lost was Katsuo Aoyama, who, prior to com- 
ing to China, had been a labor leader in Japan. In China 
he first worked in Nanking with the Chinese army prop- 
aganda section and then in Hankow he helped organize 
a group of Korean volunteers. Later he went up to the 
front near Nanning and broadcast to a Japanese attack- 
ing force over a loudspeaker. His voice carried above 
the sound of battle and gradually the firing stopped on 
both sides, with the Japanese listening in amazement to 
a fellow countryman appealing to them to stop killing 
the Chinese and to turn their guns against their real 
enemies, the Mitsuis and other Japanese profiteers, who 
had made 10,000,000 yen out of the war. Suddenly fresh 
Japanese troops were rushed up to relieve those who had 
lost interest in fighting. They made an unexpected sally 


against the loudspeaker and Aoyania was captured. The 
Mitsuis were mercilessly avenged. 


By December 1939 the number of Japanese prisoners 
who had been reclaimed from militarism and-had become 
antifascists numbered about fifty, and they banded to- 
gether in the Japanese Anti-War League with Kaji as 
their leader. These captives were trusted by the Chinese 
and were not compelled to remain in prisoner camps. 
They published their own magazine, and numbers of 
them traveled from one prisoner-of-war camp to an- 
other, lecturing to the unconverted. About twenty of 
them formed a dramatic group, wrote their own propa- 
ganda plays and put them on for the Chinese population 
and for the Japanese war prisoners. 

The Anti-War League had just about gotten started 
when it got entangled in the conflict between the Chi- 
nese Communists and the Kuomintang. From the begin- 
ning of the war until the fall of Hankow in 1938 rela- 
tions between the two major Chinese parties had been 
rather friendly, but after that had begun to cool By 
1940 the conservatives in the Kuomintang had deter- 
mined upon an anti-Communist program and anything 
smacking of leftism was frowned upon. In June 1940 
Chen Li-fu, the Chinese Minister of Education, sup- 
pressed the Anti-War League's dramatic troupe. The 
plays they presented were considered revolutionary be- 
cause they showed the eff ects of the war upon the poor 
people of Japan! 

As the conservative swing in Chungking continued, 
the work of Kaji and his associates in the Anti-War 
League was further circumscribed. Despite the fact that 


the Chinese military forces continued to suffer reverses, 
the Japanese antifascists were no longer permitted to go 
to the front lines to broadcast to the Japanese troops. 
Kaji was replaced as "psychological adviser" by one 
Kazuo Aoyama (not to be confused with the afore- 
mentioned Katsuo Aoyama who was captured and 
killed by the Japanese forces while doing front-line 
propaganda) . Kaji continued, however, to write propa- 
ganda for the Chinese army, and in November 1944 the 
Chungking radio announced that Kaji was leading a 
series of weekly Friday evening discussions at the Sino- 
American Institute of Cultural Relations. 

Kaji was precluded from reaching his full effective- 
ness because of the limitations imposed by the Chinese 
political situation, but during the period in which he had 
free access to the Japanese prisoners he was able to estab- 
lish the fact that even during a period when Japanese 
forces were winning, patient re-education of Japanese 
prisoners with a heavy militarist indoctrination could 
win them over to the cause of antifascism. 


When the handful of American and British cor- 
respondents and government observers made their long- 
coveted trip to the Chinese Communist capital of Yenan 
in the summer of 1944, one of the persons they were most 
interested in interviewing was not a Chinese, but a 
Japanese Susumu Okano. Okano's importance de- 
rived from two facts. He was .one of the founders and 
perhaps the most outstanding leader of the Japanese 
Communist Party, virtually the only group which had 
been able to maintain underground resistance within 
Japan. Furthermore he was the leading figure in the 
Japanese People's Emancipation League, the most po- 


tent organization of antimilitarist Japanese outside of 

Before the arrival of the party of correspondents and 
observers, the Japanese army had indicated its estimate 
of Okano's activities by sending half a dozen specially 
trained assassins into the Yenan area to poison Okano 
and disrupt the activities of the Emancipation League. 

Through their interviews and observations both in 
Yenan and in the field the correspondents learned that 
through the collaboration of the Eighth Route Axmy and 
the Japanese antifascists, a remarkable political belt line 
had been developed capable of taking on Ignorant, 
heavily-Indoctrinated Japanese captives and even spies, 
and within a year and a half converting them into effec- 
tive and self-reliant antimilitarist organizers. This belt 
line took them through three stages: reception, school- 
ing and front-line experience. 


From the outset of the war the Japanese captives who 
fell into the hands of the Eighth Route Army were be- 
wildered by the strangely kind treatment they received. 
They were handled in line with the policy of "Kill no 
captives, give them preferential treatment and release 
those who desire to return." 

This policy had two important objectives. The first 
was to weaken the Japanese soldier's last-ditch resistance 
by undermining the Japanese army indoctrination that 
the Eighth Route Army killed all its prisoners. The 
second was to recruit and train a group of Japanese to 
be used in the Political Department of the Eighth Route 

To achieve these objectives the captives were virtually 


overwhelmed with generosity. Early In the war strict 
orders were issued forbidding injury or insult to the 
captives or confiscation of their belongings. Captives 
were given substantially better food and more cigarettes 
than the Chinese soldiers themselves received. And spe- 
cial treatment was accorded to the sick or wounded. 

As soon as possible the captives were turned over to 
members of the Japanese People's Emancipation League, 
who operated in most of the front-line areas. The pres- 
ence of Japanese on the Chinese side puzzled most cap- 
tives even more than their good treatment. From the 
lips of these Japanese antifascists, who were formerly 
captives themselves, the captives learned that there were 
several hundred Japanese working with the Eighth 
Route Army to overthrow Japanese militarism and re- 
store peace and democracy in Japan. They themselves 
were given the choice of returning to the Japanese lines 
or going to the Japanese antifascist school in Yenan to 
learn how they had been tricked and betrayed by the 

Although the captives were generally deeply im- 
pressed by the generous treatment received, most of 
them preferred to return to their own lines. Of the 3000- 
odd deserters or prisoners taken by the Chinese Com- 
munists from the outset of the war until the middle of 
1944, only about 325 had decided to remain with the 
Eighth Route Army. Those who chose to return to their 
own lines were given farewell parties and were pro- 
vided with traveling expenses and guides. The wounded 
were sent back after being cured. 

Toward the end of 1944 the front-line propaganda 
workers made a determined attempt to increase the 
number of those who would stay with the Eighth Route 
Army and go to school in Yenan. One reason was the 


fact that the Japanese army, fearful of the effect of a 
steady stream of returning captives who told their fel- 
low soldiers of the generous treatment accorded them, 
had taken to segregating and killing those that returned. 
Furthermore, experience at the school at Yenan had 
demonstrated that the tough-minded captives who were 
at first least desirous of staying with Chinese forces fre- 
quently made the most aggressive and effective anti- 
fascist propagandists when converted. Finally, Susumn 
Okano had decided that Japan's defeat was approaching 
and that it was wise to train several hundred additional 
organizers to return to Japan and influence its postwar 

Before starting those who voluntarily chose to remain 
on the long trek from the front lines back to Yenan, 
every effort was made to determine whether or not the 
captive was a legitimate captive or a spy who had de- 
liberately "deserted" in order to worm his way into 
the Japanese People's Emancipation League. In areas 
where the Japanese propaganda workers had good con- 
tacts with Japanese soldiers in the blockhouses they in- 
vestigated suspicious deserters through telephone calls 
over tapped wires. The prisoners were interrogated time 
and again and asked to write their personal histories on 
several different occasions in order to detect incon- 
sistencies. Those who were considered suspicious were 
kept under surveillance but sent to Yenan nevertheless 
because the school there had demonstrated its ability to 
convert even spies, 


The Japanese Peasants' and Workers' School, one of 
the most remarkable educational institutions in the world, 
has been housed in a cluster of caves cut into the face of 


yellow cliffs above Yenan, capital of Communist China. 

The education of Japanese captives by the Eighth 
Route Army began as early as 1938, but at that time it 
was carried on near the front, with the captives moving 
around with guerilla units and stopping temporarily at 
farmhouses and cave dwellings. Systematic study was 
difficult but the captives, or students, as they are called 
by the Eighth Routers, were given pamphlets and books 
to read and these were supplemented by informal conver- 
sations with Japanese-speaking political workers. Con- 
verted Japanese were encouraged to do propaganda 
work. At first they assisted the Chinese propaganda 
workers. Later they were given additional responsibili- 
ties but, because of their lack of political background, 
they required constant assistance by the Chinese po- 
litical workers. 

In November 1940 the Political Department of the 
Eighth Route Army established the Peasants' and Work- 
ers' School to answer its acute need for effective and self- 
reliant Japanese front-line propagandists. The school 
got off to a poor start. The first class comprised eleven 
students, only two of whom had any antifascist feelings. 
One of these was Susumu Takayama, who was later to 
become Superintendent of Education at the school. He 
was a former factory worker and stevedore who had 
been captured while on a looting expedition in North 
China. He had received several months of indoctrina- 
tion before the school had opened. The other antifascist 
student was Ken Mori, who was later to be elected to 
the People's Assembly in the Border Region. He had 
been teaching Japanese to the Chinese political workers 
in Yenan for some time prior to entering the school. 

The remaining students were new captives and were 
recalcitrant, frustrated and uninterested in their work. 


They gambled and sold the allowances given them by 
the Eighth Route Army. The two advanced students 
together with the principal and teachers, who were all 
Chinese who had studied in Japan, attempted to win over 
the new captives but were making slow progress. In 
December 1940 their efforts were strengthened by the 
arrival of a new group of students who had received 
initial indoctrination at the front. 

On May 15, 1941, the school had its formal inaugura- 
tion in the Eighth Route Army Auditorium. Thousands 
of Eighth Route Army soldiers attended and General 
Chu Teh, their commander in chief, addressed the au- 
dience. He assured them that Japanese militarism would 
be defeated, that they could play an important role in 
building a new Japan, and that the Eighth Route Army 
would support them while they were studying to fit 
themselves for that role. Many of the wavering students 
were impressed by General Chu's address, the enormous 
size of the meeting and the enthusiastic applause and wel- 
come given them by the Chinese audience. As a result 
a better atmosphere was created at the school. 

The school reached a new level of effectiveness in 
the first half of 1943. By that time the Japanese students 
had made enough progress to take over virtually all the 
posts in the school, including teaching. This process of 
turning over the school to the Japanese was capped by 
the arrival of Susumu Okano in the spring of 1943 and 
his assumption of the post of principal In contrast to the 
recently trained students, Okano was an experienced 
political leader. During World War I he had been ac- 
tive in Bunji Suzuki's Fraternal Society after graduating 
from Keio University and in 1918 had gone to the 
London School of Economics. He returned to Japan 
in time to take part in the formation of the Japanese 


Communist Party In 1922, for which he was jailed. He 
spent most of the 'twenties in jail, but in 1931 he escaped 
from Japan to attend a Communist International Con- 
ference as a Japanese delegate. In 1935 he was elected 
a member of the Executive Committee of the Comintern 
in Russia, succeeding Sen Katayama, who had died of 
tuberculosis there in 1931. He arrived in Yenan in the 
spring of 1943, apparently by way of North China and 
perhaps Japan. With Okano's arrival the school went 
into high gear, with a systematic and effective cur- 
New students were warmly welcomed at the school 
by the older students. As soon as possible they were 
entertained at an informal get together with mass sing- 
ing, Japanese dances, plays and recitations, with the 
new arrivals encouraged to take part. The new students 
had the rules of the school explained but they were not 
strictly enforced at first. The new arrivals were dis- 
tributed to the various sections, which were housed in 
individual caves, so that they could be absorbed into 
the life of the school by the older students. 

Shortly after their arrival the students were addressed 
by Director Okano. The new captives were generally 
confused, bewildered and frustrated. The Japanese army 
has not recognized prisoners of war and consequently 
they felt themselves men without a country, or as they 
put it, "men who have died." In his lecture, Okano at- 
tempted to take advantage of this feeling that they had 
been cut off from their old life. He started out by tell- 
ing them that he realized that they had never dreamt of 
coming to Yenan. They had come to North China with 
the belief that the Japanese army was fighting a just and 
holy war to liberate the Chinese people, but had found 
out differently through bitter experience. All their suf- 


ferings and their families' sufferings had been caused by 
the militarists, who must be eliminated. Since a peo- 
ple's government could not retain the militarists' idea 
that a soldier must die rather than surrender, they would 
be able to return with honor to such a new Japan and 
thus they could and must play an active role in over- 
throwing militarism and in the establishment of a new, 
people's government in Japan. 

He pointed out that they could only do this by study- 
ing to prepare themselves for this role. "All of you have 
died once," he stated. "If you accept this, as most of 
you undoubtedly do, and plan to live anew, you will 
be able to do anything. It will be in your power to 
realize the impossible. Cast away your prejudices and 
make new men of yourselves. Turn over a new leaf in 
life, and this time work for the people." 


The school was divided into beginning, intermediate 
and advanced classes, and all of the students started in 
the beginners' class, regardless of previous schooling. 
The school had three objectives: first, the destruction 
of the militarist ideology; second, the imparting of a 
new structure of ideas; third, to combine this new struc- 
ture of ideas with practical work. 

The beginners' class, which lasted about a month, was 
an attempt to ease the students into the routine of dis- 
ciplined education as well as to ease them out of the 
false ideas derived from militarist indoctrination. The 
main text was An Appeal to the Japanese People, a 
pamphlet by Okano published on July 7, 1943, the sixth 
anniversary of the China War. This pamphlet declares 
that all the Japanese people have gained from the war 


has been "a sea of blood and tears, a mountain of mili- 
tary expenditures, bonds and taxes, physical collapse 
from overwork, restrictions, prisons and the slogans, 
lashes and swords of the militarists . . ." It calls Japan's 
war a "robber war" for the benefit of "the warlords and 
the big capitalists at the expense of the Japanese peo- 
ple." In order to bring the war to an end, the pamphlet 
continues, "First of all, the warlords must be over- 
thrown. It is only after this is done, that a genuine popu- 
lar government of Japan, representing the people and 
supported by the people, can be established . ." The 
warlords can be overthrown, the pamphlet continues, by 
a "popular front" of the working people and the vic- 
tims of the war. 

The pamphlet points out that Japan could not pos- 
sibly win the war, and that after the defeat of Hitler the 
Allies would overwhelm Japan. "What do the militarists 
say to the people?" Okano asks. "They say: c We must 
win the war, or our country shall become a British and 
American colony.' This is untrue. Everybody knows 
that the war was started not because Britain or America 
wants to change Japan into their colony, but because the 
Japanese warlords and their associates want to seize the 
South Seas territories as their colonies. . . . 

"What we want now is not a military victory of the 
government, but a defeat of it, the reason being that the 
so-called 'Greater East Asia War' is a war of the mili- 
tarists and their associates, therefore the failure of such 
a war is their failure. Their collapse furnishes a good 
opportunity for us to establish our people's government, 
to construct a New Japan. It is a short cut to our victory. 

"Fellow countrymen! Work hard in the factories, rail- 
ways, ships, offices, villages, schools, barracks and war- 
ships, not for the increase of production, but for its de- 


cline, not for the victory of the militarists, but for their 
downfall. This is your road of emancipation." 

The study of this appeal took about a month, with 
students attending class twice a week for two-and-a- 
half-hour periods. In class the instructor read the text 
out loud in class and explained the contents. Frequently 
the pronunciation of the Japanese characters or ideo- 
graphs had to be explained, since the average student had 
only a grade-school education. The pupils were encour- 
aged to ask questions and the instructor endeavored to 
arouse interest by citing concrete examples. After class 
the students reviewed their lessons with the help of more 
advanced students. 

The intermediate class was titled "Political Common 
Sense" and lasted about four months. It represented an 
attempt to substitute a factual materialist analysis of 
Japan's history and role in the war for the fantastic myths 
of "Japan's divine mission" which have been the stand-by 
of Japanese education both in and out of the army. The 
students were introduced to the concept of a "just war" 
and an "unjust war." The conflict between Japan and 
the United Nations was described as a "just war of lib- 
eration" for the United Nations and an "unjustifiable 
war of aggression" for Japan and the Axis. 

It was in this class that the Emperor was first discussed 
and it was as a result of the general student reaction to 
attacks on the Emperor that Okano moderated his pro- 
gram in this regard. The students were willing and even 
anxious to discuss the severe exploitation in Japanese fac- 
tories, the poverty of the tenants, the oppressive con- 
ditions in the Japanese army and the baleful influence 
of the Zaibatsu, but when the instructors discussed the 
necessity for eliminating the Emperor system, the stu- 
dents generally froze up and refused to comment. Rev- 


erence for the Emperor is the last portion of the mili- 
tarist ideology to give way; and then, in most cases, 
only after many months of indoctrination. 


The objective of the advanced class was to train 
organizers and propagandists who were capable of work- 
ing independently. Considerable emphasis was placed on 
the encouragement of self-reliance and initiative as prep- 
aration for antimilitarist activity at the front and for 
political work in Japan after the war. Theoretical and 
practical work were combined. One of the subjects dis- 
cussed in the advanced class was what a people's news- 
paper should be like in Japan. They prepared themselves 
by writing articles and editorials for the Battle, a wall 
newspaper posted at the school. They got experience at 
research in the complete files of Japanese newspapers and 
magazines which they managed to have smuggled 
through from Japanese-occupied territory. They also 
studied and wrote articles for the Yenan newspaper, 
Liberation Daily. From the character of the articles con- 
tributed to the latter newspaper, it would appear that 
the graduates of the Yenan school do not intend to go 
in for "Nice Nelly" journalism when they return to 
Japan but intend to bring home to the Japanese people 
the atrocities committed by their army in China. 

In June 1939 [one account ran] I was with the Ohara 
Battalion of the Wataru Regiment, Homma Division, in a 
campaign on the Suiyuan-Ninghsia border. On one occasion 
I saw Sergeant Sakuma and Corporal Shimazu drag an old 
man, a young girl and a baby from a tiny shack. After a 
few moments' whispered conversation, the officers pointed 
a pistol at the old man and said: "You and your daughter 


- saku, saku!!" Then they stripped the man and the girl 
and tried to make the old man have sexual intercourse with 
his daughter. The man cursed and fought them, so they 
shot him. The girl screamed as they tore the baby from 
her and then forced her to the ground and stuffed pepper 
into her sexual organ. 

Another report in Liberation Daily was written by a 
captive named Tajirna, 

In May 1940 the Third Company of the 39th Battalion, 
Ninth Independent Mixed Brigade, was garrisoned at San- 
chiu in Chihsien, Shansi Province. One day Second Lieu- 
tenant Ono said to us: "You have never killed anyone yet, 
so today we shall have some killing practice. You must not 
consider the Chinese as a human being, but only as some- 
thing of rather less value than a dog or cat. Be brave! 
Now, those who wish to volunteer for killing practice, step 
forward!" No one moved. The lieutenant lost his temper. 
"You cowards!!" he shouted. "Not one of you is fit to call 
himself a Japanese soldier. So no one will volunteer? Well 
then, I'll order you." And he began to call out names: 
"Otani Furukawa Ueno Tajirna! " ( My God me 
too!) I raised my bayoneted gun with trembling hands, 
and directed by the lieutenant's almost hysterical cursing 
I walked slowly toward the terror-stricken Chinese stand- 
ing beside the pit the grave he had helped to dig. In my 
heart I begged his pardon, and with my eyes shut and 
the lieutenant's curses in my ears I plunged the bayonet 
into the petrified Chinese. When I opened my eyes again, 
he had slumped down into the pit* "Murderer! Criminal!" 
I called myself. 

The advanced students, in addition to writing up Jap- 
anese atrocities, interpreted and commented OB news 
developments. They also drafted, edited and published 
leaflets, propaganda pamphlets and textbook. In 1943 


thirty-two kinds of leaflets, fourteen kinds of pam- 
phlets and textbooks, 520,000 words in all, were circu- 
lated. The texts of the leaflets were radioed to forward 
bases where they were printed and surreptitiously dis- 
tributed among the Japanese troops. Up to the spring of 
1943, when technical reasons made them impossible, 
broadcasts were made twice a week in Japanese from the 
Yenan radio station in an effort to reach both Japanese 
soldiers and civilians in North China. Both the script- 
writing and the announcing were done by the students. 


The constant drive at the school was to accelerate 
the process by which the student sloughed off the cus- 
tomary feudal habits of blind submission and unques- 
tioning acceptance and achieved the ability to think for, 
and act by, himself, albeit against a background of 
Marxist theory. One of the most effective techniques 
used to hasten this process of transformation was that 
of group and self-criticism. Each student periodically 
reviewed and criticized his own work in the presence of 
his fellows, who bestowed praise and blame where due. 
Criticism of the new students was mild, but as they 
advanced in their education the self-examinations and 
group criticisms became more vitriolic and excoriating. 
Sometimes the sessions became so merciless that sensitive 
ones shed tears. 

Superintendent Takayama expressed the purpose of 
these sessions as follows: "All of us have died once, and 
we're now building the foundations of our new lives. 
We have made many mistakes before which we cannot 
afford to repeat. Furthermore, another system requires 
considerable change; and normally, bad points would 


crop up. These should be erased through group criti- 
cism. Those who are criticized must improve themselves 
from that minute." 

These criticism sessions generally took place with a 
group of students crowded around a charcoal brazier in 
one of the smoke-filled caves. One student criticized 
himself for being too conceited and not mixing well 
enough with the other students. Another was told that 
he was hypersensitive, still another that he had not for- 
gotten his past and liked too much to recall drinking 
bouts and adventures in the red-light district of Tokyo. 

These sessions were carried on with rigor and candor, 
and would be an emotionally wearing experience for any 
group of students. It is all the more wearing on the 
Japanese, who are accustomed to telling one another 
what they think the other person would like to hear. 


The most convincing evidence of the effectiveness of 
the school was its ability to take specially trained spies, 
sent to Yenan with the purpose of killing Okano and 
conducting espionage, and convert them. The best pic- 
ture of the impact of this education on the mind of a 
spy Is provided by the story of Naoyulu Tanikawa, 
who, after his confession became treasurer of the Yenan 
branch of the Japanese People's Emancipation League. 

Tanikawa was born into a poor peasant family; after 
graduation from primary school he became a messenger 
at a business firm but developed into a juvenile delin- 
quent and was disowned by his parents. For about a year 
prior to his induction he lived as a hobo. Immediately 
after conscription in 1940 he was shipped to North 
China where he trained with the Suzuki Fourth In- 


dependent Brigade. One day his regimental commander, 
Lieutenant Colonel Kitagawa, called him to his quar- 
ters and offered him a proposition: he was to be trained 
as a spy and permit himself to be captured by the 
Eighth Route Army. "Your work will be as important 
as a whole division," Tanikawa was told. He was told 
that if he came back he would get 500 yen, a decora- 
tion and a long furlough back home. If he failed his 
family would be well cared for and honored In their 
community. Tanikawa liked the Idea for he craved ex- 
citement. By his own admission he had been fascinated 
by American gangster movies. 

In April 1941 he was sent to a school for spies at 
Yen-Ch'eng, Shansi, with twelve other soldiers from 
various units. They learned that their primary job was to 
counter the activities of the Japanese working with the 
Eighth Route Army. The latter had captured a great 
many Japanese during their Hundred-Regiment Of- 
fensive in 1940, and these captives were engaged in in- 
tensive propaganda work. During the three-month 
course the candidates were not given passes, were kept 
from mixing with other soldiers and from writing let- 
ters. They were better treated than the ordinary soldiers, 
were not slapped and had better food. 

During the course they were given a heavy dose of 
political indoctrination, with heavy emphasis on Japan's 
superiority to other countries, the justness of Japan's 
war aims and the like. They were told that the Chinese 
Communists took orders directly from Stalin, who was 
using them to conquer Japan and the whole Far East. 
They also received a technical training. They were 
trained to disguise themselves, to encipher messages, how 
to answer interrogations, how to poison the enemy with 
drugs and how to use knives and bayonets. They were 


told that they would make contact through Chinese 
liaison men, and were instructed in how to exchange in- 
formation by such simple signs as removing one's cap, 
mopping one's brow, or picking one's nose. They were 
impressed with the importance of their work, being told 
repeatedly that one spy was equal to thousands of troops. 

When Tanikawa received his orders to infiltrate Into 
the Eighth Route Army area he traveled as the guard of 
a supply train and dropped out on the way. On the third 
day he saw some Eighth Route Army soldiers on a hill 
and deliberately went out into the open to pick a water- 
melon. They shot at him. He feigned running away, 
tripped himself and was captured. One week after his 
capture he was turned over to Japanese propaganda 
workers. They treated him well and endeavored to re- 
educate him through conversation and pamphlet study. 

He made only one contact with his Chinese liaison 
man. One evening Tanikawa was walking with a Chinese 
interpreter who had learned Japanese as a student in 
Japan, when he came upon his contact man disguised 
as a peddler. Tanikawa bought something and passed 
a marked piece of currency and received as change 
currency with the countersign marked on it. On the next 
evening he slipped the peddler a message that he had 
arrived safely. 

During his first months with the Eighth Route Army 
he had a number of experiences which caused him to 
weaken. One Japanese confessed to being a spy. Tani- 
kawa was asked by the other Japanese to treat the 
confessed spy as a friend but to keep an eye on him. 
Tanikawa feared that they suspected him and that he 
was being watched. 

In the spring of 1942, Tanikawa was sent to Yenan 
as a delegate to the Japanese Soldiers' Delegates Con- 


ference. At the Conference, the ex-soldiers expressed 
the grievances they had against the Japanese army and 
its leaders: the slappings and abuse they had suffered, 
the corruption of their officers, the poor, insufficient 
food and the like. These were collected in a pamphlet, 
The Demands of the Soldiers, designed for propaganda 
work in the Japanese army. Tanikawa got interested 
in the work and after the conference remained in Yenan 
and enrolled in the Peasants' and Workers' School 

At first the school was rather difficult for him be- 
cause he had not had any interest in politics and eco- 
nomics before. It absorbed his interest, however, because 
it was down to earth and explained why the down- 
trodden Japanese people suffered so. It had a personal 
meaning for him because he had felt dissatisfied with 
his lot and had become a bum and juvenile delinquent 
in revolt against it. His awakening, however, was mad- 
dening, for if he were completely won over by the in- 
doctrination he would become a traitor to the Japanese 
army and be exposed as a spy. He could not stay away 
from class regularly, and if he attended the lectures, his 
old world came tumbling down upon him. 

Then one day a conference was held on "The Prob- 
lem of Spies." The advanced students declared that 
spies were soldiers who had been deceived by the mili- 
tarists just as other soldiers were deceived. They told 
the newer students that they should expect more and 
more spies to attempt to infiltrate as the work of the 
Japanese antifascists became more effective. Therefore, 
all the students should keep on the alert for spies, but 
when they were discovered should not persecute them, 
but treat them kindly and attempt to re-educate them. 
Tanikawa felt that every remark was directed against 


Some time after this, some spies who escaped from the 
school were caught by Chinese peasants and were 
brought before the student body for questioning. The 
students reasoned with them, told them that they were 
being used by the militarists, and asked that they reveal 
what the Japanese army had ordered them to do. When 
they did they were taken back into the school and 
treated as friends. 

Time and again Tanikawa was moved to confess. He 
felt that even parents would not go to this extent to 
save their sons. But he feared that if he confessed, word 
might leak back to the Japanese army and his family 
might suffer the consequences. 

Finally, in May 1943, a year and ten months after 
he "deserted" to the Eighth Route Army, Tanikawa 
was called in by Kazuo Sugimoto, Political Affairs Di- 
rector of the school, who had known him for over a 
year and told him that there were inconsistencies in 
his personal records. He was asked a few questions and 
he asked for time to consider before answering them. He 
was not pressed and one day he confessed completely. 
No issue was made of the matter and subsequently Tani- 
kawa became an active and influential leader of the 
Emancipation League. 


The final training ground for those attending the 
school was in the front lines where, working alongside 
the Eighth Route Army, they were able to develop their 
skills against the Japanese troops stationed in block- 
houses and important towns in North China. By the end 
of 1944 about forty graduates of the school had gone 
into the field, taking as much as six months to travel by 


foot to advanced bases in Shantung peninsula and al- 
most a year to the New Fourth Army bases in the 
vicinity of Shanghai. 

At the front the propaganda work fell into three main 
categories: written propaganda, such as leaflets and 
pamphlets, "propaganda shouting," or the use of mega- 
phones or loudspeakers against a stationary foe, and 
telephone conversations with Japanese army personnel 
over lines which the propagandists cut into. 

In all of the propaganda work carried out, the basic 
principle was to emphasize the urgent needs of the 
Japanese soldiers and to prove that Japan was doomed to 
defeat, as a means of fanning their discontent and dis- 
satisfaction so as to cause internal strife in the Japanese 
army. The stand-by in pamphlet distribution was The 
Demands of the Soldiers, which is a compilation of 
all the gripes of the Japanese enlisted man. It was so 
effective that the Japanese army authorities issued orders 
strictly forbidding the soldiers to read it. In addition to 
this general pamphlet the propaganda workers issued 
leaflets adapted to the specific gripes in the units they 
were trying to demoralize and win over. In central 
Hopei a company commander was notorious for face- 
slapping. The propaganda workers learned of this and 
addressed a warning to him through handbills surrepti- 
tiously distributed around his post. Thereupon he 
stopped face-slapping. 

Even more effective than printed materials was the 
work of "shouting corps" which moved up within mega- 
phone range of a Japanese blockhouse and harangued 
the inhabitants. This was dangerous work requiring 
strong protection, because they were generally in rifle- 
range and on occasion an officer in charge of a block- 
house would order a sally. The method was particularly 


successful when one of the Japanese antifascists located 
a friend in the blockhouse. In the Taiheng area, a 
propaganda worker named Kamada located his old out- 
fit, including the sergeant commanding the blockhouse 
who was an old friend from the same village. Once this 
sergeant was convinced that he was talking to the friend 
he had long believed dead, he leaned over the block- 
house ramparts to talk with Kamada, creating a sensa- 
tion among the troops under his command. 

Telephone-tapping had the same advantage of per- 
mitting direct conversation, in the course of which 
questions could be asked and answered. At the same 
time the danger was lessened and contact could be es- 
tablished with a number of blockhouses linked by the 
same telephone system. The best story of this telephone- 
tapping system of propaganda is that recounted by 
Harrison Forman and included by him in his Report 
from Red China. The story was told by Kobayashi, a 
propaganda worker and member of the Japanese Peo- 
ple's Emancipation League: 

"It was a bitter, blustery New Year's Eve. In pitch dark- 
ness we" slithered along an icy mountain trail, each fearful 
lest an unwary step send him hurtling over an unseen cliff. 
I was considerably worried about the precious telephone 
equipment that my Chinese guards carried on their backs 
in addition to their rifles and light machine-guns captured 
from the Japanese Army. The telephone set and the tools 
for tapping the strong points' telephone system were also 
booty. At last we reached our destination a roofless, burnt- 
out farmhouse barely two hundred yards from a Japanese 
strong point. We dared not light a fire for warmth, or even 
a candle for light. 

"On a propped~up three-legged table I set up my tele- 
phone set and leaned on my earphones waiting for the signal 
that would tell me that the Chinese trooper shinnying up 


a telephone pole out there in the dark had succeeded in his 
task which was to cut my line into the system connect- 
ing a web of strong points in that area. Our guard was 
deployed in the snow-covered vicinity, the sergeant moving 
from post to post to keep his men on the alert. 

"At last the signal came. I looked at the luminous dial 
on my watch it was well on toward midnight. Just in 
time! I cranked my set four times. After a while a sleepy 
voice answered: 'Moshi! Moshif (Hello! Hello!) 

" 'Moshi! Moshir I replied. 'Is that Number Four Strong 

"'It is. Who is this?' 

" 'May I speak with Corporal Katayama?' I asked. I had 
been told that Katayama was a good man; only a few days 
before, he had reprimanded a man in his squad for need- 
lessly abusing a peasant. Presently Katayama came to the 

" 'Is this Katayama-san?' 

" l Hai this is Katayama. Who is this?' 

" C I just called to wish you a Happy New Year,' I said. 
'It's nearly midnight, you know.' 

" 'Why, of course so it is. I had intended to stay up 
for it, but I guess I must have dozed off. Thank you arid 
a Happy New Year to you, too; though I guess it isn't such 
a happy one, at that, is it? Brr-r-r-r! These North China 
winters are cold, aren't they? Say by the way, who is 
this? Headquarters?' 

" 'No. This is Kobayashi, a member of the Japanese 
People's Emancipation League.' 

"There was a long silence. Then I spoke again. 'Hello - 
hello! Are you there?' 

" 'JFM,' came the answer. But Katayama sounded a bit 
worried. I didn't want to frighten him oif the line, so I 
spoke hurriedly: 'How did you like the comfort bags we 
sent you yesterday?' 

" 'The comfort bags? Oh, yes I know what you mean. 
Did you send them?' 


" 'Yes. Were there enough for all of you?' 

" 'Yes, there were, thank you. 7 Then I heard him chuckle. 
What is it?' I asked. 

" 'Oh, nothing just that our lieutenant was wild when 
he heard about them. He told us they would poison us!' 
He chuckled again. "We made the puppets taste them first, 
you know.' I laughed with him. Then he sobered. 'You 
know,' he went on, Tm not supposed to talk with you.' 

"I said that I knew that, but that this was New Year's 
Eve, and we were both Japanese, and homesick for our 
loved ones at home. I heard him sigh heavily. 'And when 
shall we ever see them again?' he asked, as if to himself. 

"This gave me the opening I was waiting for. I told him 
about myself how I had been wounded so badly that I 
was unable to commit suicide, which I thought was the 
honorable thing for a disabled Japanese to do. The Eighth 
Routers had picked me up on the battlefield, nursed me 
back to health, and even offered me my freedom. But by 
this time I had come to understand something of what they 
were fighting for. Other Japanese of the Japanese People's 
Emancipation League talked to me, and I decided to join 
them. Then I said: 'We, the Japanese People's Emancipa- 
tion League, are as concerned about our families as you are. 
We want to stop this war that nobody wants and from 
which nobody will gain anything.' 

"At that, he was silent. Then he asked me to tell him 
about the J.P.EJL, and we went on talking for the better 
part of half an hour, until he said that someone was coming 
and he would have to ring off. 

"I then rang up Number Six and Number Nine and 
Number Seven Strong Points and talked with several more 
fellows. At Number Two an officer carne into the room 
while I was talking to some of the men. He grabbed the 
telephone and started cursing me, ordering me to shut up 
and threatening to send out a party to hunt me down. I 
said quietly that I would take no orders from him and that 
it was such as he that I and my J.P.E.L. companions were 


fighting, and that if he led a party out we would not 
only tear up the telephone wires but also capture him alive. 
That made him so mad that he nearly exploded! He hung 
up and I went on with my telephoning." 


This continued and effective psychological warfare, 
waged by men with an intimate knowledge of the men- 
tality they have been trying to undermine, produced 

One of these was to start a trickle of deserters. In 
addition, intelligence reports reaching the Eighth Route 
Army indicated that several dozen deserters had been ar- 
rested by the Japanese army before they managed to sur- 
render. Seven soldiers in the 212th Regiment of the 
Thirty-second Mixed Brigade attempted to go over to 
the Eighth Route Army in a unit but were captured by 
puppet troops and were sent back to their unit. Subse- 
quently three of them were shot and four were handed 
over to the military police. In the Sixty-ninth Division 
a soldier named Takahashi stole his platoon commander's 
pistol and attempted to desert. He too was arrested on 
the way and was handed over to the military police. 

There have been a number of cases where Japanese 
soldiers, apparently under the influence of the propa- 
ganda of the antifascists, have resisted the authority of 
their officers. In January 1942 six soldiers in the Tenth 
Mixed Brigade requested their company commander 
not to launch a punitive drive. When their request was 
not granted and, on the contrary, they were slapped by 
the officer, they fired on him with a light machine gun. 
The company commander escaped to the outskirts of 
the city and refused to return to camp. Subsequently 
he was reprimanded by the regimental commander and 


committed suicide, while, of the six soldiers who made 
the request, three were shot and three were sentenced 
to life imprisonment,, 

A platoon commander and a lance-corporal in the 
Second Mixed Brigade were very fond of slapping 
soldiers. One day the soldiers became fed up and twenty 
of them gave the two noncoms a thorough thrashing. In 
the Thirty-sixth Regiment of the Third Mixed Brigade 
food was bad and served in insufficient quantity. Dis- 
satisfaction resulted and the soldiers staged a hunger 
strike, as a result of which the company commander was 
questioned by his superiors. The food was improved. 

The Japanese army authorities, concerned with these 
developments, attempted to remedy them in a number of 
ways. They took to shifting men in and out of places 
in which they were protractedly exposed to propaganda, 
but this was of dubious effectiveness, because it gave the 
antifascist propagandists new personnel to propagandize. 
The army authorities also countered the antifascist prop- 
aganda by stepping up the military fascist indoctrina- 
tion. This indoctrination was filled with the following 
slogans: "We must fight to the end or we shall be op- 
pressed and exploited by Great Britain and America, 
and suffer the same harsh fate as China." "Japan was 
never defeated and we shall also win this war." "We 
die in order to live, and life should be found in death." 
"Once captured by the enemy you must commit sui- 
cide." "It is a disgrace for a military man to eat at the 
enemy table." "Japanese in the Eighth Route Army are 
traitors to their fatherland." In addition to this, Special 
Service operatives were scattered throughout all the 
companies in North China to determine what effect 
antimilitarist propaganda was having on the troops. 

Wounded soldiers who could not walk and thus might 


fall Into the hands of the Eighth Route Army were shot. 

The fury which the propaganda workers aroused in 
the Japanese militarists sometimes produced amusing 
incidents. Harrison Forman tells of a Major Matsumoto, 
commanding the Seventy-fifth Battalion of an Inde- 
pendent Mixed Brigade who wrote to the Japanese 
propaganda workers promising them that if they were 
to return to the Japanese army he would guarantee that 
no harm would come to them. They replied that they 
were well treated by the Eighth Route Army and were 
fighting for something worth while. They countered 
by inviting the major to join them. He lost his temper 
and wrote once more, calling them traitors and threat- 
ening to shoot them on sight. He also wrote to the 
Eighth Route Army commander in that district, saying: 
"As one soldier to another, I demand that you send those 
men to me." The Chinese commander countered by 
ordering a surprise attack on the major's headquarters. 
The major's staff was captured but he himself just man- 
aged to escape. The Japanese antifascists chalked on the 
wall of the headquarters: "Major Matsumoto we have 
returned; why have you run away?" 

In September 1944 a Japanese magazine published in 
North China declared that the work of the antifascists 
was "shaking the faith of the Japanese in sure victory 
and breeding disharmony and strife between the Japa- 
nese government and the people." 


From the cauldron of the war in China there have 
emerged a group of Japanese antifascists who are al- 
most certain to loom as an important factor in the future 
of Japan. 


They are not many in number. The group accepting 
the antimilitarist program of the Emancipation League 
in the early part of 1945 totaled some five hundred. A 
little more than fifty were in Chungking China, mostly 
under the leadership of Wataru Kaji, with the remainder 
in North China under Susumu Okano. Of these five 
hundred perhaps two hundred have the determination, 
experience and ability to become effective organizers 
and publicists, while a handful have emerged as poten- 
tial leaders. 

Two hundred, or even five hundred, antifascists seem 
very slight in number when compared with the over 
70,000,000 Japanese they hope to influence. But this 
small band has had extensive opportunity to study and 
discuss Japan's problems and to work out a program as 
well as propaganda techniques to sell that program. 
Even before Japan's military might had suffered its 
most crushing setbacks, both the program and the 
techniques had proved to be very successful in North 
China, where about 80 per cent of the prisoners in- 
doctrinated came to at least a passive acceptance of 
antifascism. Most of the active and effective antifascists 
have expressed themselves as anxious to play their part 
in changing Japan and as ready to return there on their 
own initiative, without awaiting the invitation of the 
occupation authorities. What, then, are the character and 
program of the Japanese People's Emancipation League 
to which these antifascists belong? 

The Emancipation League was established in Jan- 
uary 1944 in Yenan at the suggestion of Susumu Okano. 
Prior to that there had been a North China branch of 
the Japanese Anti-War League, which had been founded 
in Chungking. Both the And- War League and the Eman- 
cipation League had the same three-point program: op- 


position to the war, the overthrow of the militarists, and 
the establishment of a democratic, people's government 
in postwar Japan. The prime difference was in the 
emphasis. By January 1944 the defeat of Japan was 
evident and the Emancipation League was designed 
primarily to influence the character of Japan's postwar 

During the early part of 1945 the structure and ap- 
proach of the Emancipation League resembled most 
closely some of the Communist-influenced resistance 
movements of Europe. It had a core of Communists, but 
these were a minority of about 25 per cent. There were 
only two full-fledged Japanese Communist Party mem- 
bers, because the Japanese Communist Party did not 
permit recruiting outside of Japan proper, and only 
Okano himself and Jun Sawada, who escaped to North 
China from Japan in 1943, had belonged to the Com- 
munist Party in Japan. Not being able to join the Party 
itself, some of the students at Yenan organized a Commu- 
nist League in June 1942. In the early part of 1945 it had 
slightly more than 100 members, including the majority 
of the most experienced propaganda workers. 

The Emancipation League itself was open to Com- 
munists, non-Communists and anti-Communists. What 
was required for membership Was agreement with the 
basic program advocating the end of the war, the over- 
throw of the militarists and the establishment of a demo- 
cratic Japan with improved conditions for peasants, in- 
dustrial laborers and small business men. 

In short, this was a "people's front" organization, with 
a minimum program designed to attract the widest pos- 
sible acceptance. Although the League advocated the 
extension of democracy in Japan, and in the Workers' 
and Peasants* School in Yenan the instructors attacked 


the role of the Emperor, opposition to the Emperor was 
not made a condition for admission to the Emancipation 


As explained by Susumu Okano to American and Brit- 
ish reporters in the summer of 1944, the League program 
for Japan envisaged a prolonged period of democratic 
capitalism. He indicated how remote he thought the 
possibility of socialism was for Japan by telling one re- 
porter, "I only hope to see a democratic Japan during 
my lifetime," 

Okano advocated the establishment of democracy in 
Japan by overthrowing the militarists and purging both 
them and the politicians responsible for the war. There- 
upon the government was to be liberalized by instituting 
universal suffrage, giving the people full democratic 
rights and limiting the power of the monarchy. "We 
don't want an Emperor," Okano told Guenthfer Stein, 
"but rather a President elected by the people." But he 
was opposed to any drastic move on that front at once. 
"The Emperor is still too much of a godlike figure to 
a good many Japanese for us to shout 'Down with the 
Emperor!' at this moment," he told Harrison Forman. 
He made it clear that he felt that Hirohito himself had 
a considerable personal responsibility for the war and 
that the League would not oppose any Allied attempt to 
try him as a war criminal. 

On the economic side, Okano favored placing "large- 
scale monopoly capital" under government control, and 
a shift to diversified, peacetime industries. As a first step 
toward the solution of the land problem he advocated 
the purchase of the land of the absentee landlords, the 


land to be made available on easy terms to land-hungry 
peasants, with the title retained by the government. He 
also advocated a sharp improvement in the conditions of 
industrial laborers by the institution of an eight-hour 
day, collective bargaining, recognition of the right to 
organize unions and to strike. 


This moderate program, together with the other ac- 
tivities of Kaji, Okano and their followers, constitutes 
a direct challenge to Allied political intelligence. 

The greatest asset the League possesses is its con- 
fidence that the common people of Japan can be won 
away from militarism provided that there is a complete 
debunking of the entire militarist ideology and its re- 
placement by a program with personal meaning for the 
great majority of the Japanese. 

This ability to reach the common people need not be 
a monopoly of the League. Those who fear that the 
Emancipation League or any outgrowth of it may grow 
overstrong can take comfort in the realization that the 
League will succeed only in so far as other Japanese 
groups abdicate in the field of social welfare. Thus, by 
encouraging other, more moderate, groups to come for- 
ward with a program answering the people's needs, it is 
possible to develop a popular leadership with a wider 
orientation. Similarly, the great majority of the popula- 
tion is likely to lean toward the Soviet Union only if 
the United States and Britain ignore the problems of 
the peasant, laborer and small business man and show an 
interest only in the remnants of the old ruling group. 

It would seem wise, therefore, to facilitate the broad- 
ening out of the antimilitarist forces by encouraging the 


emergence of democratic and humanitarian groups and 
individuals desirous of reforming Japan. In order to 
encourage their emergence it will probably be necessary 
to make it perfectly clear that the occupying authorities 
look with favor upon those groups who want to help 
both Japan and the rest of the world by seeking to 
eradicate the basic causes of war. It will probably also 
be necessary to see to it that they are protected against 
the vengeance of the military fascists. 

As in Italy and other European countries reclaimed 
from fascism, it will probably be possible to form a 
broad coalition of political groups agreeing on a min- 
imum program of purging the forces of militarism and 
aggression, breaking the monopolistic stranglehold of the 
giant trusts and expediting the emergence of political 
and economic democracy. Internally this would have the 
signal advantage of mobilizing the greatest number of 
those desirous of reforming Japan. Internationally it 
would minimize friction among the major allies by 
harnessing those sympathetic to Western democratic 
and Soviet ideals to the same task. Nothing can be 
more desirable than effective internal reform, carried 
out with the agreement of the major powers. 



The sacrifices of those whose blood has red- 
dened the Pacific demand not only that Japan's sur- 
render be unconditional but that the peace be lasting. 

The entire parade of shameful episodes in Japan's 
modern history points to the inescapable conclusion that 
the only safe course of action for the United Nations is 
the encouragement of a thoroughgoing purge of all the 
forces which have made its name synonymous with 
treachery, brutality and rapaciousness. A fundamental 
and lasting change in Japanese policy cannot be expected 
until Japan has undergone a sweeping democratic trans- 
formation and a complete recasting of its political and 
economic leadership. 

The most immediate steps In the direction of securing 
a peaceful Japan consist of: stripping Japan of its mili- 
tary and naval forces; restricting and supervising its 
industries; punishing its war criminals; and its military 
occupation and subsequent supervision. But any system 
of international punishment which is purely penal and 
not corrective can be neither effective nor lasting. The 
terms applied to Germany in the Versailles Treaty were 
not wanting so much in severity as they were in their 
failure to correct Germany's basic drive to war. The real 
key to lasting peace lies in the reorientation of Japan's 
entire political and economic system. 

There can be no dispute with the necessity for the 
strengthening of the international security organization. 
But the development of a trustworthy Japan, which is 
not continually motivated toward war, is a vital corollary 


to the establishment of a collective security system in the 
Pacific. Attempts to eliminate the internal causes of war 
In chronic aggressor nations should play as important a 
part In International peace efforts as preventive medicine 
does in a comprehensive scheme of public health. If this 
Is not done, If we leave Japan with an economy and a 
leadership which are basically incapable of solving Its 
problems peacefully, this leadership will seek out any 
and every loophole In the still emerging system of world 
security, to re-establish Japan as a divisive force and a 
threat to world peace. 

Therefore, in order that they may be effective and 
lasting, the measures applied must have as their objective 
the development of a trustworthy Japan. And It is not 
enough to mouth phrases about wanting a Japan which 
can "live in peace with its neighbors" or enter into "the 
fellowship of International society." What is required 
instead is a comprehensive idea of the changes In Japan's 
political and economic structure which will eliminate the 
source of aggression instead of merely forcing it under- 
ground for a few years. Many people have described 
Japanese militarism as a cancer. Too few have empha- 
sized the danger of removing it without destroying its 


One of the greatest dangers in our program for Japan 
lies in the avid search for superficial solutions. Deliber- 
ately or not, the bulk of the Japan specialists in London 
and Washington seem intent on ignoring the direct re- 
lationship between the basic faults in the Japanese struc- 
ture and the long series of wars which have resulted from 
them. Their plans are permeated with expressed desires 
to encourage the emergence of a peaceful Japan but are 


lacking in any manifest willingness to alter the economy 
and political structure which have given rise to war. The 
specific features which are listed for elimination are al- 
most always the symptoms rather than the disease itself. 
Militarism and the jingoist organizations which spear- 
headed it are listed for liquidation, but the oppressive 
conditions in agriculture which have produced the most 
rabid young military fascists apparently are to go un- 
touched. War industries are to be dismantled or trans- 
ferred, but the domination and exploitation of the econ- 
omy by the aggressive economic imperialists, the Z#z~ 
batsu, may be allowed to remain. 

One of the outstanding examples of this desire to "re- 
form" Japan painlessly is the attitude taken toward the 
educational system by some conservative Japan special- 
ists. Mr. Wilfred Fleisher, who frequently mirrors the 
views of State Department conservatives, gave his views 
on Japanese education on a broadcast of the "Town 
Meeting of the Air" in March 1945. 

"Education in Japan has been a matter of high policy," 
Mr. Fleisher declared. "The government provides an 
official negative from which millions of prints are made. 
Our main task will be to see to it that a new negative is 
provided one that will teach the Japanese that Japan's 
mission is not a divine one of conquest, but to take a 
law-abiding place in the society of nations." 

Mr. Fleisher's intentions are fine and his figure of 
speech very effective, but unfortunately it implies a sub- 
stantial retention of the present education organization, 
It is hard to conceive of a more dangerous illusion than 
to think that "our main task" will have been accom- 
plished once a "new negative" (presumably meaning 
new textbooks) is provided. In any educational system 
organized to inculcate a particular set of ideas not only is 


it necessary to have textbooks and syllabi emphasizing 
the doctrine desired but also It is vital to have teachers 
and administrators who are advocates of the Ideology to 
be propagated. The oligarchy In Japan has made every 
effort to achieve both objectives, and during the last 
twenty years there have been repeated purges of the 
school system specifically designed to eliminate antimili- 

It should be obvious that such an educational system 
so carefully geared to militarist needs cannot be thrown 
into reverse by a flip of the wrist, the appointment of a 
few foreign advisers or the banning of a few particu- 
larly obnoxious books. We cannot effect a fundamental 
change in policy without a drastic reorientation of the 
entire educational system, accompanied by a counter- 
purge of those who have been most active in militarist 
and jingoist indoctrination. It is true that this is a diffi- 
cult task, but it Is not impossible because there were 
hundreds of American and British teachers scattered 
through Japan and they are sufficiently familiar with 
educational personnel in the areas in which they taught 
to point out the ringleaders In militarist education as 
well as the antimilitarists who were expelled from their 
positions or terrorized into silence. 

In the long run, the occupation of Japan will be briefer 
and more effective if we recognize at the outset that we 
cannot accomplish major changes in policy without 
major changes in structure and personnel. This is true 
of the entire structure of the Japanese government. It is 
true, of course, that occupation authorities frequently 
prefer to take over a "going concern," in order to keep 
essential services going and make It possible to have 
things run smoothly. This is not only expedient, but 
particularly wise when for military or other reasons it is 


Imperative to avoid interruption. It is perfectly unob- 
jectionable when necessity dictates provided that we 
do not delude ourselves into believing that the "going 
concern" is going in our direction! 


Many specialists in the field explain their reluctance to 
change the status quo in Japan in terms of maintaining 
"order" and "stability." This, too, is a dangerous illu- 
sion, for the old order is basically unstable; and a policy 
of support for its leaders, far from being conducive to 
civil peace and moderation, is likely to encourage extrem- 
ism and civil war. 

Even before the war, the inability of the leaders of the 
old regime to find a peaceful solution for the economic 
problems of the great majority of Japanese resulted in 
deep unrest among professionals, small business men, the 
peasantry and the industrial workers. Faced with this, 
the oligarchy of giant trusts, parasitic landlords, mili- 
tarists, antidemocratic bureaucrats and feudal aristocrats 
have maintained their position by the combined repres- 
sive power of the police, army, and the hoodlums of the 
jingoist societies, and by periodic recourse to war. 

The denouement of Japan's defeat has been accom- 
panied by a substantial weakening of the hold of the 
ruling oligarchy over the population. The glowing prom- 
ises of prestige, power and prosperity have been replaced 
with the bitter reality of starvation, searing death and 
ignominious defeats. Together with growing disillusion- 
ment has come a weakening of the ability of the govern- 
ment to stifle criticism. Wartime defeats and post-sur- 
render dissolution of the army will remove the most 
powerful weapon of the Old Gang. The nationalistic 


propaganda of the jingoist societies will be discredited by 
defeat, and they will be driven deep underground. Con- 
sequently the autocratic old order will be left with only 
the police to hold back the rising tide of discontent. 

This tide is bound to rise, if defeat is not accompanied 
by extensive reforms. The peasantry will remain saddled 
with the burdens of high interest, semifeudal rents and 
monopoly-priced fertilizers. Industrial workers will still 
receive microscopic wages for work under inhuman con- 
ditions without the protection of adequate social legisla- 
tion or unions of their own choosing. Small business men 
will remain virtually impotent against the tremendous 
power of the Zaibatsu, and professionals will go hungry 
or sell their consciences for their daily rice and little else. 
And none of these will be able to make their voices ef- 
fectively heard in the political scene because of the ob- 
stacles inherent in the antidemocratic constitutional 
structure, with the Emperor at its apex. 

It would seem reasonable to assume that the Old Gang 
can retain power only if it combines the co-operation of 
the Allied occupation authorities with thorough exploita- 
tion of the Emperor's prestige and maximum use of police 
repression. But this procedure would have the effect of 
repressing and terrorizing only many of the more mod- 
erate critics of the regime. It is not likely to eliminate the 
radical organizations which have persisted despite long 
years of continuous persecution. The upshot of the con- 
tinuation of an old order incapable of solving any of the 
population's problems but willing to use repression 
against a rising tide of discontent is likely to be a bloody 
civil war. This is hardly a result to be anticipated from a 
policy advocated as a means of preserving "stability" and 



The United Nations have an alternative to supporting 
those who would tread a slightly refurbished version of 
Japan's old road. It is within their power to facilitate the 
construction of that broad new road to self-purification, 
political democracy, economic reform and international 

During the past three quarters of a century a wide 
range of groups have sporadically attempted to pioneer 
this new road. Virtually every sally has been beaten back, 
and those who have dared to pioneer have paid with 
their jobs and their health, and even with their lives, for 
their daring. Long years of repression have decimated 
the ranks of these pioneers, but new recruits have come 
forward to take the places of those who have fallen or 
have been terrorized into silence. 

The total number of those who consciously seek to 
have Japan move ahead along this new road is certainly a 
minority at present. But, for that matter, so is Japan's 
ruling oligarchy. The important fact about the anti- 
militarist minority is that they are capable of forming the 
nucleus of a broad democratic movement representing 
the majority of the people, and capable of carrying 
through reforms which are in the interest not only of 
the people of Japan, but also of the United Nations as a 

While it would be the depth of political ineptitude to 
overlook these elements of opposition to the old regime, 
it would be the height of overoptimism to suggest that 
these advocates of a new Japan can carry through a 
renovation by themselves. There can be little doubt that 
the weakening of the old regime through defeat will 


provide additional opportunities for the opposition. But 
the old order has the weight of wealth, social position, 
experience, international connections and inertia to sup- 
port it. The supporters of the old order control the police 
and other portions of the state apparatus, and can hide 
behind the "august virtue" of the throne. The opponents 
of the regime, on the other hand, are little known. Some 
have been dismissed from their positions, others have kept 
a careful anonymity, others have spent years in prison. 
Police espionage and repression have made it impossible 
to maintain effective organization. 

The lesson is clear. There is a minority capable of 
carrying through a democratic transformation, but only 
'with our sympathetic assistance. Therefore the decision 
rests with us. We cannot impose a democratic system on 
Japan, but we can, by facilitating the activities of those 
who wish to carry through democratic reforms, accom- 
plish the same end, 

The support and encouragement of antimilitarist ele- 
ments has been attacked by some as "meddling" or "un- 
due interference." We apparently can intervene in the 
affairs of fascist nations to the extent of invading their 
lands at the expense of hundreds of thousands of lives, 
but not to the extent of enabling them to achieve the 
kind of governments which will make it unnecessary to 
repeat the sacrifice twenty years hence! 

In order to create conditions which will facilitate the 
emergence of a democratic government, it is necessary 
to be very severe and very sympathetic at the same time. 
The best way to divert Japan's efforts into constructive 
channels is to erect roadblocks against efforts to lead 
Japan along its old road, and to pave the way for those 
who want to push forward to a new and democratic 
Japan, or, to paraphrase a popular song of the recent 


past, we must eliminate the negative and accentuate the 

positive elements in Japan. 


A task which is decisive for the emergence of demo- 
cratic forces and which at the same time should cause us 
special satisfaction is the purging of those elements 
which have been responsible for the war and its bar- 
barous crimes. The elements in Japanese life most active 
in bringing on the war and most responsible for hideous 
war crimes against Allied military men and civilians have 
also been the most active and ruthless opponents of those 
Japanese who preferred political and economic reform to 
external aggression. Consequently, a thoroughgoing pun- 
ishment of the militarists and their civilian collaborators 
will not only teach the Japanese a lesson in international 
morality, but also remove dangerous elements from the 
political life of Japan at a time when they can* do the 
utmost damage. 

The trial of military fascists and other war criminals 
is one of the most important means of revealing to the 
Japanese people how they were led into the war, by 
whom and for whose benefit. Some observers apparently 
believe that revulsion against militarism and contrition on 
the part of the Japanese is to be expected as an automatic 
accompaniment to defeat. This viewpoint overlooks the 
fact that for some years the Japanese have been subjected 
to an unending barrage of official propaganda which, in 
the absence of any contrary information, has convinc- 
ingly pictured Japan as defending hapless East Asia 
against the imperialist designs of the Allies. Correctly 
utilized, these trials of war criminals can serve to illu- 
minate the real causes of the war and the barbaric cruelty 
inflicted by the militarists. 


Many Japanese will probably offer the excuse repeated 
so frequently by the Germans that the crimes were 
committed under orders. Many of the Individual war 
crimes, of course, have not been committed under orders, 
but have merely been officially tolerated. But even those 
crimes which were ordered cannot be condoned. This is 
Important, not only on moral grounds, but because unless 
the Japanese learn Individual responsibility for their ac 
tions, there is little hope for a firm democratic structur 
in which the people will not be led, robot-like, to 

The trials can also serve to counteract the notion, 
widely disseminated by the Japanese propagandists, that 
the war is racial in character. We should make It clear to 
the Japanese that, if we single out certain Japanese 
leaders as war criminals and punish them severely for 
their atrocities, we are not punishing them because they 
are Japanese but because of their crimes, and that we 
have applied exactly the same standards in punishing 
German war criminals. It also would be wise to point out 
the fact that Japanese war criminals who tortured and 
killed Allied fliers also tortured and killed those of their 
own countrymen who opposed them. 

There are fundamentally two types of war criminals. 
The first includes individuals who order or participate 
in atrocities. The second comprises political and eco- 
nomic leaders who are responsible for the whole act of 
aggression, of which the atrocities are but one aspect. 
The simpler and more obvious category of war criminals 
comprises those who have committed crimes against the 
rules of war such as the maltreatment of war prisoners 
and wounded, or offenses against the lives, health, honor 
and property of enemy civilians. A great number of the 
military fascists fall into this category, and their liquida- 


tion will constitute a major contribution to a peaceful 
Pacific and a new Japan. Since September 18, 1931, the 
Japanese military fascists and their accomplices have been 
responsible for a wide range of crimes, including the rape 
of Nanking, the ravaging of Hong Kong, the "Death 
March" of Bataan, the beheading of captured aviators, 
cannibalism directed against Australian prisoners in New 
Guinea and literally thousands of other crimes no less 
horrible. By combining the information available to the 
American, Chinese, British, Australian, Philippine and 
Dutch authorities, it should be possible to bring to swift 
justice a considerable number of the militarists who do 
not deprive us of that pleasure by eliminating themselves. 
We must be careful not to limit our search for those 
guilty of crimes against the rules of war to the armed 
forces of Japan. The role of the secret political police 
(known as the Tokkoka) is every whit as sinister as the 
Nazi Gestapo, and there is nothing that Himmler's or- 
ganization could have taught it in ruthlessness of meth- 
ods or its use of every conceivable torture. Many of the 
key members of the jingoist societies can also be caught 
up in the war-atrocities dragnet. In the course of their 
lurid histories of espionage, terrorism and propaganda 
they have organized gangs of terrorists in China and 
Manchuria who have tortured, despoiled and murdered 
Chinese who resisted Japanese aggression. 

A more difficult and important category of undesir- 
ables comprises those who were not personally respon- 
sible for specific atrocities, but who killed millions of 
people just as surely by actively planning, supporting 
and expediting Japanese aggression. This would take in 
virtually every policy-making official in the Japanese 
government in the last ten years including Prince 
Konoye, who led Japan into the China War, as well as 


almost all the leaders of the giant trusts. Those which do 
not merit a death sentence should at least be stripped of 
their ill-gotten wealth and kept from polluting the po- 
litical atmosphere by imprisonment or exile to some bleak 
but well-guarded island. 

Undoubtedly the most dangerous of the elements of 
the old order will be the leaders of the Zaibatsu. They 
will seek to survive by abandoning the militarists, in 
order to win another chance to reconstitute the aggres- 
sive power of Japan. It is infinitely more difficult to pin 
guilt on a business leader than on an army commander. 
Furthermore, they will overwhelm us with their friend- 
liness, claiming they never wanted war and only profited 
from it with bleeding hearts. They will come in droves, 
carrying their diplomas from American and British uni- 
versities, to offer their services to the Allied occupation 

But a surrender which would leave this group of 
economic imperialists in power would fall far short of 
victory. The industrial monopolists have worked long 
and ardently for Japanese domination of East Asia. They 
have both supported and profited from aggression. Con- 
sequently punishment must not stop at removal of Japa- 
nese political and military leaders, but must include 
Japan's aggressive economic leadership as well. 

Furthermore, the Zaibatsu will attempt to maintain 
unchanged the internal conditions which were the eco- 
nomic mainspring for Japan's campaigns of conquest. To 
eliminate the risk of another war, the structure and 
control of the Japanese economy must be so altered that 
it cannot serve the purposes of war. This is as funda- 
mental as military occupation and political change. 

In the field of politics, the greatest single political ob- 
stacle to democracy, and the greatest headache for both 


progressive Japanese and the United Nations as a whole, 
is the future role of the Emperor institution. It is an ob- 
stacle to democracy, an incentive to war and an excuse 
for atrocities. Democracy is possible only where the 
people are sovereign. For the past three quarters of a 
century virtually every attempt to achieve democratic 
advances has run head-on Into the thick wall of imperial 
sovereignty. Permanent peace is only possible when the 
concept of a "master race" has been erased. The Em- 
peror cult, or State Shinto, has persuaded the Japanese, 
as Nazism persuaded the Germans, that they are a nation 
with a "divine mission" to rule the world. Death on the 
battlefield is acclaimed as the highest attainment, and the 
most bestial tortures are condoned, because both are done 
in the name of the Emperor. 

We can begin to undermine this dangerous institution 
during the period of military occupation. The occupation, 
authorities have full justification for banning any text- 
book or publication that maintains that Japan has a "di- 
vine mission" to rule the world. Since it has already been 
made clear that any dissemination of the parallel Nazi 
dogma of "Aryan supremacy" is intolerable, there seems 
to be little reason to accord any special privileges to the 

Because of the firmly entrenched character of the in- 
stitution, it is not enough merely to remove its most ag- 
gressive superstructure. We must demolish it completely, 
foundations and all. The main foundation of the institu- 
tion is the hold that it has developed upon the Japanese 
people, as a result of more than a half -century of inten- 
sive indoctrination. All the evidence available at present 
indicates that not one Japanese in fifty has a skeptical 
attitude toward the throne. 

Primary attention, therefore, must be concentrated on 


the task of discrediting the throne and dispelling the aura 
of sacredness with which the oligarchy has surrounded 
it. One way to accomplish this is for the occupation 
authorities to encourage the publication of literature 
critical of the Emperor institution. Another method is to 
name Emperor Hirohito as a war criminal 

Emperor Hirohito can and should be tried as a war 
criminal. As chief of state and commander-in-chief of 
the armed forces, he has been legally responsible for 
unprovoked aggression and unspeakable atrocities. An 
Allied bill of particulars, charging the Emperor with 
criminal complicity in die war, will come as a needed 
psychological shock to the Japanese. It will serve a 
useful purpose even if it only provokes prolonged dis- 
cussion in Japan on the merits of the institution and its 
occupant during the past two decades. Out of such dis- 
cussions can develop rational and critical attitudes ca- 
pable of dispelling the aura of sacredness. 

A further step in this direction is to reveal to the Jap- 
anese people that the Imperial Household, as a great 
landowner and substantial member of the Zaibatsu, is an 
integral part of the economic oligarchy which has de- 
nied them adequate living conditions. 

A permanent abolition of the throne one which will 
last beyond the withdrawal of occupation forces can 
only come as a result of action by the Japanese people 
themselves. Therefore the most vital and positive step 
in this direction is the strengthening of the natural op- 
ponents of the throne those who favor popular sov- 
ereignty against imperial sovereignty. When a substan- 
tial portion of the population recognizes that the institu- 
tion is an obstacle to progress and plenty, the Japanese 
themselves will raze it to the ground. 



A program adequate to the task of reorientating a na- 
tion cannot be purely negative in character. It is essen- 
tial to discredit, isolate and extirpate the aggressive ele- 
ments of the old regime, but that alone is not sufficient. 
It is not enough to eliminate the militarists and their 
civilian collaborators and to convince the Japanese peo- 
ple that their bitter fate is a direct result of the evils of 
the old order. A purely negative program leads to sullen- 
ness, despair and apathy. 

The Japanese not only must be won away from the 
old. They must be turned toward the new. They must 
realize that there is a real alternative, that something new 
and better can be built on the ashes of the old. A major 
part of this task will have to be done by forward-looking 
Japanese, but we can immeasurably facilitate their work 
in a number of ways. 

We have already made it clear that we do not intend 
to destroy or enslave the Japanese people. We should also 
make it clear that we do not intend to keep Japan in a 
state of lasting political or economic subjection, and that 
when the Japanese have proved themselves to be trust- 
worthy they will be given an opportunity to re-enter 
the community of nations. 

The most important contribution the United Nations 
can make to the achievement of a democratic Japan is 
through encouraging the development of those groups 
and individuals most intent on introducing the political, 
economic and social reforms requisite to democratiza- 
tion. One of the main problems of the United Nations 
forces occupying Japan, as in Germany, revolves around 
selecting suitable personnel for various positions of trust. 
By selecting persons with a consistent record of opposi- 


tion to militarism and dedicated to measures that will 
uproot the old regime we simultaneously provide our- 
selves with trustworthy associates and give potential 
democratic leaders the experience and prestige which 
they require. 

There are a number of other ways in which we can 
facilitate the efforts of genuine antimilitarists to enlist 
popular support for a program of purification and re- 
form. We can and should abolish all repressive and anti- 
democratic legislation. Furthermore, during the period 
of military occupation the occupying authorities have 
control over the radio, press and public gatherings. Al- 
lowing the antimilitarists to have access to the radio and 
press, and permitting them to hold public meetings, 
while discouraging the antidemocratic and pro-mili- 
tarist elements, would be of signal importance. Simi- 
larly, the occupying authorities will have the opportu- 
nity to assist and encourage the work of trade unions, 
peasant leagues, professional associations, small business 
men's groups and other popular organizations which are 
certain to emerge. 

A close study of Japan's recent history demonstrates 
that a core of conscious democrats and genuine anti- 
militarists is to be found in four groups: among small 
business men who seek to break the crushing hold of the 
Zaibatsu and the burden of wartime taxation, among pro- 
fessionals opposed to militarism and favoring democracy 
and the opportunities it provides for full use of their 
skills, among industrial laborers seeking democracy and 
the opportunities for improving their living standards 
and among peasants interested in throwing off the yoke 
of a semifeudal and parastic landlordism. 

This core of forward-looking individuals do not all 
agree on ultimate objectives or on tactics. Their political 


orientation divides them into parliamentary democrats, 
social democrats, agrarian reformers, socialists and com- 
munists. Despite these differences, there is a wide area 
of political and economic agreement, an area more than 
ample for the formation of an effective and fairly stable 
coalition. It is of the greatest moment for us that the 
fundamental points of agreement within this potential 
coalition represent not only the interests of the majority 
of the Japanese people but also those of the United States 
and the other United Nations. In sum they call for po- 
litical democracy, the creation of a welfare economy and 
the maintenance of peace. 

We are sure to be tempted with the hope that we can 
build a new Japan on a narrower basis ignoring the 
peasant and labor leaders. This would be both dangerous 
and self-defeating. The task of reforming Japan is suffi- 
cient in scope to command the assiduous and co-operative 
efforts of all democrats and antifascists. We cannot af- 
ford to ignore popular leaders with a following among 
the common people, for it is the latter who must be the 
foundation of a new, democratic Japan. Should we en- 
courage division among the forward-looking elements, 
we incur the risk not only of dissipating their efforts, but 
also of establishing a new area of conflict among the 
United Nations. 

We are also sure to be tempted with the hope that a 
new Japan can emerge purely on the basis of political 
reforms and without the "turmoil" and "chaos" of agrar- 
ian reforms and the like. This is the most dangerous 
illusion. Man does not live by bread (or rice) alone, but 
neither can he stay alive on a strict diet of ideas. Democ- 
racy and peace can only be sold in Japan if they are 
linked with enough rice. 

Agrarian reforms are an absolute prerequisite for a 


democratic and peaceful Japan. If he does not receive 
land and a fair return therefrom, the peasant will re- 
main a potential recruit for the forces of fascism and 
war. If he receives land from a democratic Japanese gov- 
ernment, with the support and encouragement of all the 
United Nations, he will become a defender of the gov- 
ernment which gave him land and a friend of those 
countries which encouraged it. A narrow and negative 
policy on our part, therefore, will not only undermine 
the political support for a democratic government and 
leave untouched one of Japan's most serious founts of 
aggression, but it will also leave the field open for other 
governments to gain the friendship of the Japanese by 
sponsoring such reforms. 

Many have described Japan after defeat as a "political 
vacuum." It should be remembered that a positive and 
dynamic force flows more rapidly into a vacuum than a 
negative force or no force at all. 


The burden of decision falls upon us. Ours is the heavy 
responsibility and the glowing opportunity to decide 
whether we shall leave Japan little better than it was 
before Pearl Harbor or help launch it upon a new road. 

The task of paving the way for the emergence of a 
Japan with a peaceful and democratic orientation will 
be a major test of our maturity and enlightenment in 
the sphere of international affairs. Its successful accom- 
plishment will require courage, vision and a type of social 
engineering on an international scale which is unprece- 
dented for the United States. Should we attempt it and 
succeed in any measure, it will establish the United States 
as the political and moral leader of the Pacific. 


Almost unconscious of their magnitude, we have con- 
quered the tremendous problems of the war. In a half- 
dozen years, starting virtually from scratch, we have 
become the greatest military power of the world. We 
have overcome almost insuperable problems of produc- 
tion and logistics. We have landed on enemy shores in 
the teeth of the most tenacious and murderous resistance. 

Our wartime achievements beggar our postwar prob- 
lems. Yet, without an adequate solution of these prob- 
lems, our military victories become incomplete and 

In Japan our military victories can only be translated 
into permanent peace by uprooting aggression and point- 
ing the way to democracy and peace. In the memory of 
those who died to restore the Pacific to its name, we can 
do no less. 


JAPAN: A Short Bibliography for the General Reader 

ALLEN, G. C: Japan: The Hungry Guest. Dutton, 1938. 

BISSON, T. A.: Japan in China. Macmillan, 1938. 

America's Far Eastern Policy. Macmillan, 1945. 

BORTON, H.: Peasant Uprisings in Japan. Asiatic Society, 

CHAMBERLIN, W. H.: Japan over Asia. Little, Brown, 1938. 

DEPARTMENT OF STATE: Foreign Relations of the United 
States, Japan, 1931-1941. Vols. I & II. Government Print- 
ing Office, 1943. 

GREW, J. C.: Ten Years in Japan. Simon & Schuster, 1944. 

HARING, D. G.: Blood on the Rising Sun. Macrae Smith, 1943. 

HOLTOM, D. C.: The National Faith of Japan. Dutton, 1938. 

ISHIMOTO, BARONESS SHIDZUE: Facing Two Ways. Farrar & 
Rinehart, 1935. 

JOHNS-TONE, W. C.: The Future of Japan. Oxford, 1945. 

LAMOTT, W. C.: Nippon: The Crime and Punishment of 
Japan. John Day, 1944. 

LATTIMORE, OWEN: Solution in Asia. Little, Brown, 1945. 

MAKI, J. M.: Japanese Militarism; Its Cause and Cure. Knopf, 

NEWMAN, J.: Goodbye Japan. Fischer, 1942. 

NORMAN, E. H.: Japan's Emergence as a Modern State. In- 
stitute of Pacific Relations, 1940. 

REISCHAUER, R. K.: Japan, Government Politics. Ronald, 

SANSOM, G. B.: Japan: A Short Cultural History. Century, 

TANIN, O., and IOGAN, E.: Militarism and Fascism in Japan. 
International Publishers, 1934. 

TOLISCHUS, O. D.: Tokyo Record. Reynal and Hitchcock, 

UTLEY, F.: Japan's Feet of Clay. Norton, 1937. 

WILDES, H. E.: Social Currents in Japan. Chicago, 1927. 

YOUNG, A. M.: Japan in Recent Times. Morrow, 1929. 



ABE, DR. Iso, 197, 213 

"Account of Informal Conversa- 
tions, etc.," 51 

Adjustment of Enterprises Law, 

Agriculture, 161-171, 181-185, 275 

Aikawa, Gisuke, 85 

Aikokusha, 174 

Aircraft industry, 84, 85 

Akahata, 184 

Akamatsu, Katsumaro, 212-213 

All-Japan Peasants Union Con- 
ference, 183 

Alley, Rewi, 238 

Allied Control Commission, 101 

Allies, and postwar Japan, 9-13, 

Amerasia, 66-67, 69 

Amery, Colonel, 27 

Anami, General, 95 

Anarchists, 208, 209 

Anglo-Japanese Alliance, 26-27 

Anti-Imperialist League, 215 

Anti-War League, 6 

Aoyama, Katsuo, 241-242 

Aoyama, Kazuo, 243 

Appeal to the Japanese People, 
An, 250 

Appeasement by invitation, 47-50 

Application of Capital Law, 88 

Araki, General, 118 

Aristocrats, 5, 9, 11, 15, 46 

Afahi> 126, 127, 230 

Ashio mines, 203, 211 

Ami, 124 

Automotive industry, 84 

Awakening Japan, 107 


Balance of power, in postwar 

Orient, 28-29 
Ballantine, Joseph W., 66 

Bank of Japan, 80 
Banking, 78-79, 88-89 
Batsu^ 15-16 
Besshi mines, 204 
Bougainville, 123 
Buddhism, 108 
Bureaucrats, 9, 15, 16 
Bushido, 135-136 
Butler, Sk Paul, 20, 22 

Cannery Boat, The, 129 

Capehart, Homer, 24 

Capitalism, 16, 75, 76-77 

Carlson, Colonel Evans F., 13 

Carlson's Raiders, 13 

Censorship, 18 

Central Association of Life In- 
surance Companies, 96 

Central Bank of the Co-operative 
Societies, 96 

Central Review, intellectual mag- 
azine, 157-158 

"Chain of Wealth, The," 204 

Chamberlain, Neville, 36 

Chang, Hsueh-liang, 48 

Charlie McCarthy school, 99, 114 

Chatham House, see Royal Insti- 
tute of International Affairs, 20 

Chen, Li-fu, 242 

Chiang Kai-shek, 28, 154 

Chichibu, Prince, 120 

China, 28, 29, 42, 83, 107, 153- 
154, 217, 218, 219-220 

"China crowd," 65 

Chinese Nationalist Revolution, 

Chokugen, 200 

Choshu clan, 82, 103 

Choya Shimbun, 105, 144 

Christian Science Monitor, 25 

Chu, Teh, 248 

Chuo Koron, 148, 157-158, 181 


Cod Control Association, 90 
Colleges, democratic thought in, 

147-150, 151 
Combines, see Trusts 
Commercial Banks Control As- 
sociation, 88 

Commission to Study the Organ- 
ization of Peace, 60 
Common People's Paper, 199 
Communism, 5, 8, 11, 21, 29, 44- 
45, 130, 208, 209, 211, 215-216, 
219, 242 

Communist League, 269 
Communist Raids, 212 
Congressional Record, 35 
Conscription, 177; labor, 224-227 
Conservatives, 8, 9, 29-30 
Constitution promulgated, 105- 

Control Associations, 72, 89-90, 92 


Dai Nihon Shi, 103 

Dai Nippon Jinushi Kyokai, 180 

Dai Nippon Press Association, 

Dai San Bank, 88 

Daily Mail, London, 29 

"Dangerous thoughts," 5, 18, 81- 
82, 130, 150, 210 

Debs, Eugene V,, 197 

Debtors' Party, 173, 176 

Declaration of the Social Demo- 
cratic Party, 197 

Demands of the Soldiers, The, 
259, 261 

Democracy, ignorance of, 132- 
134; and Allied occupation, 
134; potential, 136-139; agita- 
tion for, 140-160; in postwar 
Japan, 279-281, 285 

Denver National Opinion Cen- 
ter, 123 

Depression of 1929, 181-185 

Diamond, 228, 229 

Dickovcr, Erie R,, 66 

Diet, 81, 91, 105, 107, 145 

Disunity, danger from, among 
United Nations, 25, 30-33 

Domei, 93, 140, 157, 159, 226 
Dooman, Eugene H., 66, 67-69 
Dubosc, M., 44 


Economic Research, 149 

Education, control of, 18; of Jap- 
anese captives, 244256, 260- 
267; postwar, 275-277 

Eighth Route Army, 5, 244, 245, 
247, 248, 257, 260 

Elder Statesmen, 80 

Emergence of Japan as a Modern 
State, The, III 

Emperor-worship, 8, 18, 62, 63, 
64, 133, 270; Allied views of, 
99-101; growth of, 102-111; po- 
tency of, 112-114; in postwar 
Japan, 114-122, 285-286 

Engels, Friedrich, 197 

Espionage, 86 

"Ethical Significance of Worship 
at the Shrines," 148 

Expansion, conciliatory policy 
of, 41, 79, 82-86; foreign, 76, 
186-188, 212-216 

Extremists, struggle with mod- 
erates, 41, 47, 51-52 

Facing Two Ways, 153 
Fanaticism, 17, 59, 112, 123, 124- 

126, 239-240 

Far East, American policy in, 34 
Far Eastern Affairs, Office of, 64- 


Farmer-Labor Party, 179, 210 
Fascism, military, 9, 11, 44-45, 

133, 151-152, 187, 218, 281-282 
Federation of Coal Mine Owners, 

Federation of Revolutionary 

Artists and Writers, 235 
Feudal Background of Japanese 

Politics, 142 
Fighting Flag, 235 
Fire Pillar, 199 
Fleisher, Wilfred, 61, 66, 275 


Foreign Relatiom of the United 
States: Japan, 1931-1941, 60-61 
Foreign trade, 76, 83-84 
Forman, Harrison, 262, 267 
Fraternal Society, 206, 208 
Freedom and People's Rights 

Movement, 140-141 
"Friend of the Miners " 203 
Fuji, 113 

Fujiwara, Ginjiro, 84, 92, 93 
Fund, Yoshimi, 159 


Goto, Shojiro, 176 

Great Britain in postwar world, 

Greater Japan Landlords' Asso- 
ciation, 180 

Grew, Joseph Clark, 19, 99, 101; 
policy toward Japan, 34-37; 
career, 37-40; Ambassador to 
Japan, 42-50, 52, 53-58; As- 
sistant to the Secretary of 
State, 59-60, 61-64; Director of 
the Office of Far Eastern Af- 
fairs, 66-70 

Gripsholm, S.S., 58 

Guam, 15, 134-135 

Gujffey, Joseph F., 19 
Uy 15-16 


JR., 14 

Hamada, labor leader, 214 
Harcourt-Smith, Simon, 29 
Heimm Shimbun, 199, 200, 202- 

203, 205 

Henderson, Sir Nevile, 36 
Hkano, Rikizo, 189 
Hirao, Hachisaburo, 90 
Hirohito, Emperor, 19, 24, 55- 

56, 80, 82, 114, 119, 270, 286; 

dean of moderates, 43, 48, 57- 

58, 61, 62 

Hirose, Toyosaku, 96 
Hizen clan, 103 
Hochi, 144 
Hoffman, Clare, 24 

Hong Kong, 87 

Hornbeck, Dr. Stanley K., 65 

House, Colonel E. Al, 38 

House of Peers, 80 

Hulen, Bertram D., 64 

Hull, Cordell, 64 

Hundred-Regiment Offensive, 257 

I.W.W., 202 

Ikeda, Seihin, 94 

Ikeda, Yuki, 237-239 

Ikki, Baron, 43-44, 80 

Illinois Education Society, 61 

Imperial Agricultural Society, 

Imperial Household Ministry, 80 

Imperial Rule Assistance Asso- 
ciation, 93, 156, 221, 228 

India, 27, 28 

Indo-China, 83, 87 

Industry, 275; growth of Jap- 
anese, 75-78, 84-85 

Institute of Pacific Relations, 20, 

International Congress of Social- 
ists, 200 

Inukai, Tsuyoshi, 40, 46, 145, 151 

Iron Heel, 199 

Iron and Steel Control Associa- 
tion, 90, 96 

Iron and Steel Manufacturers' 
Federation, 90 

Iron Workers' Union, 194 

Ise, 110, 111 

Ishiguro, Tadaatsu, 96 

Ishimoto, Baroness, 153, 219, 237 

hkra, 200 

Itagaki, Taisuke, 141, 142, 175, 176 

Ito, Prince, 81, 106 

Iwasaki family, 79 

Iwo Jima, 124 

Japan Advertiser, 129 

Japan Chamber of Commerce 

and Industry, 89 
Japan crowd, 65, 66, 67, 69 
Japan in Defeat, 19-23 


Japan Times, 130 

Japanese And- War League, 221, 

223, 242-243, 246, 268 
Japanese Board of Information, 


Japanese Commoners' Party, 198 
Japanese Communist Party, 269 
Japanese Economic Federation, 

Japanese Federation of Labor, 

208, 20^-210, 213 
Japanese Peasants* Federation, 


Japanese Peasants' Society, 182 
Japanese Peasants' Union, 178- 

179, 182 
Japanese Peasants* and Workers' 

School, 246-256, 260-262 
Japanese People's Emancipation 

League, 6, 18, 117, 158, 227, 

243, 245, 267-272 

Japanese Soldiers' Delegates Con- 
ference, 258-259 
Japanese State Socialist Party, 

Japanese Trade Union Congress, 

Japanese Trade Union Council, 


Jimmu, Emperor, 103, 108 
Jingoism, 11, 108, 275, 278 
Jiyu minken undo, 140-141 
Jiyuto, 104-105, 141-144, 175-176 
Jones, Lieutenant William, 135 
Jugo Bank, 88 

Kaishinto, 141, 143-144 
Ka&o, 150, 157-158 
Kaji, Wataru, 6, 117, 223, 234-243, 


Kambatsu, 15-16 
Katayama, Sen, 194, 197, 200, 201- 

203, 205, 249 
Kato, Kanju, 216, 217, 218, 219, 

230, 232 

Kato, Premier, 79 
Kawasaki Shipbuilding Co., 222 

Kcio University, 150 
Kcizaigaku Kenkyu, 149 
Kellogg, Frank B., 39 
"Kick Your Mother and Father," 


Kinoshita, Naoe, 199 
Kishi, Shinsuke, 92 
Kobayashi, Takiji, 129-130, 236 
Koiso, General Kuniaki, 16, 93, 

94, 95, 226 

Kokkai Kisei Domel Kai, 174-175 
Konoyc, Prince, 52, 53-55, 69, 86, 

153, 283 

Koran Shmipo, 105 
Kotoku, Shosui, 196, 197, 199, 

201-203, 205 

Kuhara, Fusanosuke, 77-78, 85 
Kuo, Mo-jo, 238 
Kuomintang, 242 
Kxtrusu, Mr,, 23, 57 
Kwantung Army, 15, 16, 53 
Kyoto Imperial University, 151 
Oy 173 

Labor, 199 

Labor movement, militarists op- 
pose, 193-194; growth of, 194- 
198, 201-204, 211-212; and for- 
cig* 1 aggression, 212-221; and 
World War 1, 206-210; in 
World War IT, 221-231; in 
postwar Japan, 231-233 

Labor World, 194, 198 

Landlordism, 166-169 

Laokay phosphate deposits, 87 

Lasalle, Ferdinand, 197, 198 

Lavalle, Ramon, 35 

League for the Establishment of 
a National Assembly, 174-175 

League of Nations, 39, 213 

Lenin, Nikolai, 200 

Lepanto copper mines, 87 

Liberal Decade, 79 

Liberal Party, 104, 105, 141-144, 
174, 175-176, 196 

Liberalism, 5, 11, 195; growth of, 
146-160, 173-180 

Liberation Daily, 253, 254 


Life Insurance Control Associa- 
tion, 96 

London, Jack, 199 
Lu, Hsun, 237 

Mainichi y 197 

Makino, Count, 43-45, 46, 48, 80 

Manchukuo, 150 

Manchuria, 27, 39, 47, 87, 150, 
182, 183, 186, 212 

Marx, Karl, 197 

Matsudaira, Viscount, 44 

Matsumoto, Kenjiro, 90 

Meiji, Emperor, 56, 57, 104, 107 

Meiji Restoration, 31, 75, 76-77, 
104, 109, 164, 165, 171, 172, 173 

Mergers, 87, 88-89 

Midway Island, 91 

Militarism, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 15-16, 42, 
57, 73, 76, 96, 185-190, 275, 281- 

Miners Federation, 216 

Minken Undo, 104 

Minobe, Dr., 121 

Minseito Party, 81, 82-83, 151- 
152, 154, 217 

Mitsubishi Bank, 88 

Mitsubishi, House of, 44, 71, 79, 
80, 81, 82, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 118, 

Mitsubishi Warehouse Company, 

Mitsui Bank Ltd., 88 

Mitsui, House of, 42, 71, 81, 82, 
86, 87 

Mitsui Mining Company, 87 

Moderates, 57, 155; described, 40- 
42, 47-48; struggle against ex- 
tremists, 41, 47, 51-52; appease- 
ment by invitation, 47-50 

Mohammedanism, 112 

Mombatsu, 15-16 

Monopolies, 87-89, 97 

Mori, Ken, 247 

Mori, Major General Masamitsu, 

Morito, Professor, 149 

Moscow, 50 

Movement for the Defense of 
Constitutional Politics, 145 

Munitions, 84; Ministry of, 91- 

Musanto, 216 

Muto, Sanji, 81 

N. Y. K., 80, 83 

Nagaoka, labor leader, 203 

Nakajima, 85 

Nakano, Seigo, 92-93 

Nasu, Major General, 157 

Nation, the, 36, 68 

National Council of Trade Un- 
ions, 216, 219 

National Industrial Service Asso- 
ciation, 220 

National Mobilization Law, 220 

Native-Land-Loving School, 187 

Nehru, Jawaharlal, 28 

New Economic Structure, 89 

"New Far Eastern Policy, A," 66 

New Man Society, 148, 235 

New Society, 199 

New York Herald Tribune, 25, 

New York Times, 63-^54 

New Zaibatsu, 85 

News of the Social Movement, 

"Next Will Come Paper Bombs," 

Nichi Nichi, 215 

Niigata Shimbun, 144 

Nippon, 215 

Nippon Chuya Bank, 88 

Nippon Nomin Kumiai, 179, 182 

Nippon Nomin Sodomei, 183 

Nippon Rodo Kumiai Hyogikai, 

Nippon Rodo Kumiai Kaigi, 213 

Nippon Railway Company, 195 

Nippon Seitetsu, 96 

Nippon Steamship Company, 77 

Niroku Shimpo, 198 

Nishio, General Juzo, 193 

Nishio, Suehiro, 214 

Nissan firm, 85 


Nomln Rodoto, 179 
Nomura, Admiral, 23 
Nomura Bank, 89 
Norman, E. Herbert, 142, 172 
Northern Court, 102 
Nosaka, Tetsuo, 206 

OCCUPATION, Allied, of postwar 

Japan, 10-13 
Oi, Kantaro, 196 
Oji Paper Company, 84 
Okano, Susumu, 6, 117, 206, 209, 

234, 243-244, 246, 248-252, 256, 

268, 269, 270 
Okinawa, 95, 124 
Okuma, Count Shigenobu, 144, 

Old Gang, 10, 22, 25, 32, 68-70, 

277, 278 
Oligarchy, 10, 14-15, 16-18, 79, 

107, 279 

Oliver, Lieutenant John, 135 
Oriental Economist, 229 
Osaka Asahiy 146 
Osaka Heimin, 203 
Osugi, Sakae, 209 
Ozaki, Yukio, 140-141, 143-145, 

150-151, 152, 155-156, 160 

PM, 35, 36, 61 

Pacificus, 68 

Paine, Tom, 141 

Peace, negotiated, 14 

Peace Preservation Laws, 81, 105, 
144, 150 

Pearl Harbor, 4, 15, 52, 58, 59, 89 

Peasantry, 5, 6, 7, 161-171; re- 
volts, 171-173, 176-178, 179; or- 
ganizes, 173-176, 178-180; and 
crisis of 1929, 181-185; in World 
War II, 185-192 

Peasants Union, 210 

Peers' Bank, 88 

People's Rights Movement, 104 

Perry, Commodore, 102, 103 

Phi Beta Kappa, 148 

Philippine Islands, 15, 87 

Plain Speaking, weekly, 200 

Plekhanov, George, 200 

Police, 18, 128-131 
Police Law of 1900, 207 
Poor People's Party, 173 
Popular front, 217 
Positive school, 41, 79 
Progressive Party, 141, 143-144 
Proletarian Party, 216, 217, 218, 

Propaganda, 18, 126-128, 131-133, 

135-136, 240-242, 261-267 
Public Peace Police Law, 178, 195 

RADIO, in psychological warfare, 


Reconstruction, intellectual mag- 
azine, 157-158 
Record, Philadelphia, 35 
Red Flag Riot, 204 
Redman, H. Vere, 99 
"Reflections on Contemporary 

Politics," 150 
Reform, basis of postwar, 3-13; 

agrarian, 7, 29, 161-162, 289- 


Report from Red China, 262 
Report from Tokyo, 59 
Rice Riots, 80, 178, 207 
Roosevelt, Franklin D., 49, 52 
Roosevelt, Theodore, 31, 38 
Royal Institute of International 

Affairs, 20 

Russia, see Soviet Union 
Russian Revolution, Japan and, 

Russo-Japanese War, 26, 31, 77, 

110, 199-200 

SABOTAGE, 229-230 

Saionji, Prince, 43-44, 80 

Saipan, 93, 126, 127, 131 

Saito, Takao, 154-155, 160 

Saito, Viscount, 46, 47 

Sakai, Toshihiko, 199, 201, 209 

Sakara, Zawa, 158 

Sampo, 220 

Sangyo Hokoku Kaf, 220 

Sanwa Bank, 89 

Sasaki, Marquis, 143 

Sassai, Ichio, 189 


Satsuma clan, 82, 103 
Sawada, Jun, 269 
Scarlet Banner, 184 
Seamen's Union, 214 
Seiyukai Party, 81, 82, 152, 217 
Shakai Shimbun, 203 
Shakai Shugi Kyokai, 198 
Shakai Undo Tsushin, 182 
Shakaito, 173 
Shakkinto, 173, 176 
Shibusawa, Baron, 206 
Shidehara, Baron Eajuro, 41, 79, 


Shikoku, 142 
Shin Shakai, 199 
' Shin Zaibatsu, 16, 85 
Shinjinkai, 148 

Shintoism, 62, 108-111, 121, 285 
Shiomi, Seisaku, 240 
Shipbuilding, 85 

Shogunate, 102, 103-104, 164, 165 
Showa Bank, 88 
Shrines, 110-111, 121 
Sino-American Institute of Cul- 
tural Relations, 243 
Sino-Japanese War, 36, 49; of 

1894-1895, 77, 110, 194 
Smedley, Agnes, 240 
Smuts, Marshal, 28 
Snow, Edgar, 236 
Social Democratic Party, 197, 

199, 213 
Social Mass Party, 152, 153, 197, 

213, 217, 218, 219, 220 
Social Party, 173 
Socialism, 196-204 
Socialist Association, 198, 201 
Socialist News, 203, 205 
Socialist Party, 201-203 
Society for the Investigation of 

New Literature, 235 
Society of Patriots, 174 
Society for the Promotion of 

Trade Unions, 194 
Society of Reservists, 187 
Society of Sincere Persons, 203- 


Soldiers' Friend, 215 
Solomon Islands, 91 

Son of Heaven, 109 
Sonobe, Lieutenant General, 241 
Southern Court, 102 
Sovereignty, problem of, 143 
Soviet Union, 11, 28, 29, 192, 218, 


Spirit of Japanese Industry, 84 
Stability, theory of, 19-23, 69- 

70, 71, 277-278 
Stalingrad, 51 
Stein, Guenther, 270 
Stimson, Henry L., 27, 39-40, 49 
Stone, I. F., 36, 61 
"Study of the Social Thought of 

Kropotkin, A," 149 
Suetsugu, Admiral Nobumasa, 

153, 219 

' Suffrage, universal male, 81, 210 
Sugimoto, Kazuo, 260 
Suicide, 124-126 
Sumitomo Bank, 88 
Sumitomo, House of, 44, 71, 80, 

87, 118 
Sun Goddess, 103, 109, 110, 111, 


Sun, Fo, 63 
Sun, Yat-sen, 63 
Surrender, unconditional, 14, 272- 

291; conditional, 23-25 
Suzuki, Admiral Baron Kantaro, 

16, 23, 95 
Suzuki, Bunji, 183, 205-206, 208, 

213, 214, 219, 232 

Tagawa, Daikichiro, 156-157, 160 
Takayama, Susumu, 247, 255 
Taki, 135 

Takikawa, Yokitatsu, 151 
Tanaka, General Baron, 41, 78, 

82, 179, 211 
Tanaka, Kyuga, 164 
Tanaka Memorial, 41, 82 
Tani, Viscount, 31, 32, 177 
Tanikawa, Naoyuki, 256-260 
Tarawa, 13 
Taylor, George, 43 
Teikoku Bank, 88 
Teikoku Shimpo, 149 


Temps, Paris, 44 

Ten Years m Japan, 46, 48, 49, 67 

Terauchi, Premier Marshal, 80, 


Time, 66 
Togo, Mr., 56 
Tohokai, 92 
Tojo, General Hideki, 16, 52- 

55, 56, 87, 89, 91, 92, 93, 118, 


Tokai Bank, 89 
Tokashiki, 124 
Tokkoka, 283 
Tokugawa, Prince, 45 
Tokyo Asahi, 146 
Tokyo Imperial University, 148, 

149, 150, 151, 153 
Tokyo Mainichi Shimbun, 157 
Torture, 129-130, 131 
Tosa clan, 103 

Toyoda, Admiral Teijiro, 96 
Trade Union Council, 212 
Truman, Harry S., 23, 25 
Trusts, financial, 15, 71-72, 96 
Tsuchi II, Emperor, 102 
Tsukada, Dr. Isaku, 229 
Tsushima, Juichi, 94-95 
Tuberculosis, 19, 227 

U.S.S.R., see Soviet Union 

Ueki, Emori, 141-142 

United States, in postwar world, 

28; Far Eastern policy, 34, 41 
Universal Suffrage Association, 

Universities, democratic thought 

in, 147-150, 151 

WAKE, 15 

Wilson, Woodrow, 146 
Workers and Peasants Party, 211, 

212, 235 
World War I, Japan in, 31, 77, 

146, 178 
World War II, 86-87, 90-91; 

Japan enters, 51-58, 60 


Yamakazi, Minister of Agricul- 
ture, 190 

Yamanashi, Prince, 235 

Yano, Fumio, 199 

Yaskuni, 110, 111, 112, 121, 148 

Yasuda Bank, 88, 89 

Yasuda combine, 71 

Yasui, Lieutenant General Toji, 

Yawata Iron Foundry, 216 

Yokohama Specie Bank, 80 

Yomhtrij 92 

Yonai, Admiral Mitsumasa, 23, 

Yorozu, 197, 199 

Yoshino, Dr. Sakuzo, 148-149, 

YuaiM, 206 


Zaibatsu, 15-16, 275, 278, 284, 288; 
growth and influence of, 71- 
72, 76-78, 79-81; dangers of, 
72-75, 96-98; foreign policy, 
82-86; in Pacific war, 86-87, 
91-96; and Control Associa- 
tions, 89-91 

Zenkoku Nomm Kaigi, 183 

Zenkoku Rodo Kumiai 

Zola, Eraile, 199 


me autnor ol tins book believes that cer- 
tain Americans and Englishmen favor a peace 
formula for Japan which will provide only 
for a temporary truce. Just as German mili- 
tarists and their industrial supporters were 
left in power after the First World War, in the 
same manner these men would leave the Jap- 
anese Emperor and his imperialist partners 
in*' control of Japan after this war. Believing 
that most Americans want permanent peace 
m spite of the cost, Mr. Roth provides a force- 
ful analysis of the alternatives which face us 
and the Japanese people. 

He shows first what we can expect from a 
defeated Japan if we follow this expedient 
but shortsighted policy of leaving the gov- 
ernment in the hands of the so-called ' 'mod- 
erates." He points out that such a procedure 
would rule out the reconstruction of Japan 
on a democratic basis, for it would maintain 
in power the leading industrial giants, the 
Zaib#tsu> of whom the greatest is the Em- 
peror. These, combined with the semifeudal 
landlords, of whom Hirohito is also the lead- 
er, have always followed a policy of economic 
imperialism, whether by means of military 
conquest or by the subtler methods of the 

This book is an honest warning by a keen 
analyst of Far Eastern affairs. We must realize 
before it is too late that we are headed toward 
disaster if we court the status quo in Japan, 
Here it is clearly demonstrated that a policy 
of appeasing the "moderates" can only end 
at another Pearl Harbor.